Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that global public opinion was changing on the Palestinian issue and there were rising voices now criticising Israeli actions, adding that a day would come when Palestinians would have their own country.
Speaking on the occasion of Palestine Solidarity Day, the premier said: "I am seeing a very positive development and that is the change in the global public opinion."
Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council and Special Aide to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony and Middle East, had told a press conference on Thursday (yesterday) that on the instructions of the prime minister, Palestine Solidarity Day would be observed across the country on Friday (today) to express support for the oppressed people of Palestine.
In his address, the premier said that during his time spent in the West, he had never seen such criticism of the Israeli army for its atrocities against Palestinians from Western media, newspapers and politicians. "Instead they all [thought] as if injustice was being done against Israel but this is the first time that voices have started rising from there," he said, adding that now Western newspapers, media and politicians were criticising Israel.
"I never thought that they would criticise Israel in America or Western countries.
"A big reason for this change in public opinion is social media. Even if the main[stream] media stops or censors any report, social media is such a force that no one can stop news or communication," said the prime minister.
The prime minister pointed to the example of South Africa 30 years back and how public opinion had changed against the apartheid regime. He said it too had been supported by "major world powers" but once public opinion changed, the same world powers had pressured the South African regime to give equal rights to Africans and Asians.
"I am seeing similar signs of a change in the world's public opinion and these big countries who had been supporting Israel up till now will exert full pressure to give Palestinians their full rights.
"A day will come when Palestinians will get their own country, a just settlement and they will be able to live as equal citizens," said Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Speaking about the protests being carried out in support of Palestine on Palestine Solidarity Day, he said he was very "happy" to see how the nation had come out in support of the cause and highlighted and condemned the injustices in Palestine. "I want to pay tribute to you all," said the premier.
The prime minister said that since Israel's inception, Pakistan's stand on the issue had forever been the one espoused by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah: "A great injustice has been done against the Palestinians."
He added that Pakistan had supported and stood with Palestinians on every forum. He mentioned how he had been in Medina when he first got to know of the attacks by Israeli police on worshippers in Al Aqsa on the 27th of Ramazan and the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes by settlers.
The premier said the very next day he had met the secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and called for the OIC to take a stand on it and raise the issue in the UN. He added that he had the same conversation with King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia that "we should raise our voice regarding the injustice against Palestinians and what happened in Al Aqsa."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad had voiced similar sentiments in their calls to him, said the prime minister, and added that he had assured Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of full support by not only Pakistan and the Muslim world but "everyone who believes in justice."
"I then tasked (Foreign Minister) Shah Mahmood Qureshi to go to the UN General Assembly and raise this issue along with the OIC and other Muslim countries," said the prime minister, adding that the foreign minister had raised it in a very concentrated manner and "I praise him for that."