Senate condemns Israeli action amid demand for ban on NGO

Published May 31, 2022
A session in Senate — Photo courtesy: Senate of Pakistan/Twitter
A session in Senate — Photo courtesy: Senate of Pakistan/Twitter

• Ulema Council seeks action against visitors to Israel
• PTV anchorperson sacked
• State-run STZA’s website highlights Israeli firm’s tweet

ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Mon­day condemned the Israeli forces action against innocent Palestinians in Al-Aqsa mosque compound and Pakistan Television (PTV) terminated the services of an anchorperson who recently visited Israel.

The controversy about the recent visit to Isreal was raised in the upper house of parliament by Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed who dema­n­d­­ed that the nationality of those expatriates of Pakistani origin who travelled to Israel be cancelled and the NGO that facilitated their visit be banned.

He said the visit of Ahmed Qureshi, working for state-run TV as part of the delegation, raised many questions and sought to know under which authority and on which travel documents he undertook the visit.

Since the visit drew sharp criticism from several quarters, including Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan who alleged that the incumbent government was ‘tasked with recognising’ the Zionist state, clarifications have been issued by spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs, federal ministers and Pakistan Ulema Council.

Leader of the House in Senate and Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar assu­red the house that he would place the information after getting a briefing from the Foreign Office and relevant quarters.

He said he would provide complete details to the house who had gone there, to which country they belonged and to what extent they had connection with Pakistan. However, he cautioned that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to pass comments on matters concerning the state on basis of media reports.

However, Leader of the Opposition in Senate Dr Shahzad Wasim criticised the government for taking the serious issue ‘casually’ and alleged that the delegation included two Pakistani passport holders.

Accusing the government of a complete surrender before the US, the PTI leader said: “They are not even ready to talk to Russia.” He alleged that the appointment of a trade attaché to India was also part of the same policy.

Resolution

After a discussion on the matter, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution on longstanding Israeli illegal occu­­­pation of Palestinian territories and atrocities over the innocent Pales­tinian people. The resolution stated the house was cognisant of the longstanding Israeli illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and atrocities against the innocent Palestinian people during the last 74 years in sheer violation of UN Security Council resolutions and international law and norms. “The Senate of Pakistan in strong terms condemned the recent atrocities and violence of Israeli forces over the innocent pilgrims and worshipers in Al-Aqsa mosque and decades old blockade of Gaza by the Israeli forces.”

The house called upon the government to utilise all diplomatic and publicity resources for highlighting the Palestinian dispute on all international and regional fora in coordination with all Muslim states and prepare a roadmap for liberation of Palestinian territories.

Earlier, Information Minister Marri­yum Aurangzeb told a presser that PTV had terminated the contract of the TV anchorperson who visited Israel in his personal capacity. Media outlets reported that Mr Qure­shi was part of a Pakistani-American delegation.

Meanwhile, Pakistan-based Palest­in­ian activist Dr Sabir Abu Maryam, who is secretary general of Palestine Foundation Global Campaign, had condemned the visit of Pakistani journalists to Israel. In his tweet, he called upon all authorities to take strict action against the press delegation.

Ulema Council’s letter

Also, Pakistan Ulema Council chairman Tahir Ashrafi, who was aide to the ex-PM on Middle East affairs, said a letter was being written to Interior Ministry and Min­is­try of Foreign Affairs to take legal action against those Pakistanis who visited Israel.

On the other hand, a key government entity on its website continues to highlight an Israeli firm’s tweet.

Established in 2020 under the cabinet division, with an aim to develop a technology-driven knowledge ecosystem and encourage innovation and futuristic entrepreneurship, the Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA) on its official website displays the link of “Tech&Law Israel” tweet of May 24 about the STZA.

The state-run STZA gives an access to the Twitter account of “Tech&Law Israel” that describes itself as Israel’s first and biggest Legal Tech platform and community. “We are the #legaltech go-to-guys in the #Startup Nation.”

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2022

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