ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain has linked permanent restoration of peace in the Middle East with the resolution of the long-standing Palestine issue.
The government and people of Pakistan considered the issue as their own and promised continued and unequivocal support to their Palestinian brethren, he said on Monday at the 5th extraordinary session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Palestine and Al Quds, being held in Jakarta.
According to the Presidency, he emphasised the need for an early solution to the Palestine problem and reiterated Pakistan’s stance for complete withdrawal of Israelis from the occupied Arab territories and the inalienable right of Palestinian people to self-determination and sovereignty in an independent state on the basis of pre-1967 borders with Al Quds as its capital.
He called for a just resolution of the plight of Palestinian refugees in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution 194(III) of Dec 11, 1948 and implementation of all Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 1860.
The president stressed the need for release of Palestinian detainees and restoration of religious freedom.
The OIC summit titled ‘United for just solution’, hosted by Indonesia at the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, gathered heads of state and representatives from 49 Muslim countries.
President Hussain spoke categorically about what he called ‘apartheid policies’ of Israel.
He called Israel’s use of excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force against unarmed, innocent Palestinians and settlements in the West Bank as blatant violations of international law and United Nations resolutions.
“All Israeli measures, including settlements, separation wall, excavation beneath the Al Aqsa mosque and eviction of Palestinians from their homes, which could change the situation on ground till a resettlement is reached, must stop,” he demanded.
The president said Pakistan supported direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians that should be based on internationally agreed parameters with clear benchmarks and timelines.
“While Israel does not seem to abide by these principles, we fully support the Palestinian bid to internationalise the issue to bring more international force on the issue,” he said.
He also said: “The Ummah is facing multiple challenges and problems, with Muslims being discriminated against and excluded from the global mainstream.”
He said instability and bloodshed had afflicted the Muslim world as never before and it was far from realising the common causes, most notably in support of the Palestinian and other Muslim populations, such as in Jammu and Kashmir that remained under foreign occupation.
He said the conference was important at a time when Palestinians were facing a new wave of violence.
He recalled the genocide carried out by Israel in Gaza in 2014 and regretted that the world kept watching the killing of Palestinian men, women and children.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the organisation needed to enforce its effective role in resolution of this issue.
Palestinian President Abbas said the Israeli operations were a violation of international and human rights. He said it was time to end the longest occupation in the history and Palestine should be made an independent state with Al Quds as its capital.
OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani called for enhancing the efforts for resolution of the Palestine issue and for providing assistance to address the social and healthcare needs of Palestinians.
In a meeting with the Palestinian president, Mr Hussain said Pakistan would continue to extend diplomatic and moral support to the Palestinians.
He termed Israel’s policy of grabbing land for settlement as an ‘ugly, immoral and illegal act’.
“Pakistan supports the admission of Palestine to the UN as a full member,” he said.
He said that besides Palestinians, people of Kashmir had long been suffering at the hands of occupation forces and were being denied the right to self-determination.
Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2016