ISLAMABAD: Indicating a major policy shift, the presidency on Friday suggested “one-state solution” to the Palestine issue, but in a sudden change of heart back-pedalled his remarks after a few hours.

The presidency had issued a statement quoting President Dr Arif Alvi to have suggested “one-state solution” to the conflict during his telephonic talk with Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas.

“If two states solution was not acceptable to Israel then one state solution was the only way where Jews, Muslims and [a] good percentage of Christians could live to exercise equal political rights,” the previous press release had quoted Dr Alvi to have told the Palestinian president.

Almost all the news TV channels ran the president’s previous statement which was also released by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan.

Talks to President Abbas on telephone

Meanwhile, a senior official of the Foreign Office, when contacted for comment, said Pakistan had an unwavering commitment to a fair and enduring resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, founded on the two-state solution, leading to the establishment of a sovereign and viable Palestinian state with Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital, along borders that existed prior to 1967 as enshrined in several resolutions adopted by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The FO official said that the same position had been reiterated by caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar during his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Riyadh on Friday.

Prime Minister Kakar has travelled to Saudi Arabia for participating in the OIC summit that has been convened to discuss the Gaza situation.

The presidency’s revised statement said President Arif Alvi had assured his Palestinian counterpart that Pakistan would continue its support for resolving the Palestinian dispute in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

In his telephonic contact with President Abbas, Mr Alvi expressed his heartfelt sympathies and grief on behalf of the people and the government of Pakistan over the atrocities being committed by Israel against the people of Palestine.

He deplored the situation in Gaza, terming it “very painful” and said the entire Pakistani nation was deeply saddened by the brutalities and reign of terror unleashed by the Israeli security forces.

Mr Alvi strongly condem­ned the massive bombing by Israel which did not even spare schools and hospitals.

The barbaric actions, he said, resulted in the killing of thousands of Palestinians, in­­cluding women and children, healthcare workers, journalists and UN aid workers.

President Alvi said the current situation in Gaza was a reaction to decades of apartheid and unjust policies of Israel.

He condemned Israel for ethnic cleansing of Muslims and pushing them out of their territories.

He regretted the lack of action on part of the international community to stop Israel from its murderous campaign against the people of Gaza.

President Abbas said Israel was committing genocide in Gaza. He called for stopping Israel from fighting across the Palestinian territory.

He also demanded the opening of a corridor to Gaza to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance as there was no food, medicine and electricity available for the people of Gaza.

President Abbas thanked Pakistan for supporting the Palestinian cause and sending humanitarian assistance.

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza after Hamas fighters poured across the militarised border on Oct 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostages.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel retaliated with bombardment and a ground campaign that the health ministry in the Gaza Strip says has killed more than 11,000 people, mostly civilians and many of them children.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2023

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