UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has urged the UN General Assembly to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to allow unhindered humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the enclave amidst relentless Israeli bombing.
During a high-level debate on Friday, Pakistan’s UN envoy Munir Akram reminded the Security Council that its primary responsibility was to promote peace through dialogue and the General Assembly shares this responsibility, especially when the Council fails to act.
“It is widely felt that the Security Council has failed to perform the role envisaged for it in the (UN) Charter and has failed to stop the slaughter in Gaza,” Ambassador Akram argued.
“Pakistan hopes that the General Assembly will take action and demand an immediate ceasefire; full, unhindered, and sustainable humanitarian access to suffering people in Gaza,” he added.
Munir Akram also urged the General Assembly to ensure that the Palestinians were not displaced within or outside Gaza. “And then we should seek to resuscitate the two-state solution, the only option for a durable peace in the Holy Land,” he added.
The high-level open debate was organised by Brazil, the UN Security Council’s current president. Last week, Brazil also moved a resolution in the council, seeking ‘humanitarian pauses’ in the war to allow full, safe, and unhindered access for UN agencies to help Palestinian civilians. The United States vetoed the resolution.
During a debate on the Brazilian resolution, Pakistan and other Muslim nations called for a debate on Gaza in the General Assembly as no member there has the power to veto a resolution.
During Friday’s debate, Pakistan named several other instances where the Security Council failed to live up to its Charter — such as the war in Ukraine and the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
Ambassador Akram informed the session that the Security Council’s resolutions on Kashmir call for a plebiscite in the disputed region, but were never implemented.
Suppression of Kashmiris
Like Israel in occupied Palestine, India’s massive occupation army of 900,000 troops was brutally suppressing the freedom struggle of Kashmiris and was imposing the so-called “final solution” on them, he said.
“The Council’s failures must be addressed. Pakistan believes that this can be done by making the Council more representative of the UN’s membership and more democratic,” Ambassador Akram said.
This, he said, could be done “by enlarging the voice of the majority of small and medium sized states, and by making the council more accountable, through the democratic method of periodic elections”.
“It is crystal clear that the Council’s shortcomings arise mainly due to the veto power of these five members, whether exercised directly or indirectly,” the Pakistani envoy argued.
“Therefore, it is difficult to comprehend the logic of those who advocate the expansion in the number of the Council’s permanent members. The problem cannot be the solution,” he added.
Pakistan is a member of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group within the United Nations, which opposes the suggestion to add more permanent seats to the Security Council. Instead, it calls for a consensus before any decision is reached on the form and size of the Security Council.
Ambassador Akram told the council that the UfC has consistently proposed that regional representation could offer the basis for an agreement on the issue of Security Council reform.
Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2023