LAHORE: Australian High Commissioner Neil Hawkins on Tuesday called on Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq at Mansoorah.

Both sides discussed Pak-Australia relations and matters of mutual interest. JI foreign affairs director Asif Luqman Qazi was also present.

Haq urged the visiting ambassador to use diplomatic influence to halt the bloodshed in Gaza, emphasizing the need for an urgent ceasefire in the war-torn area.

He expressed confidence in Australia’s capacity as a nation that upheld justice and human rights to play a pivotal role in putting an end to the violence in Gaza.

Haq handed over a letter to Mr Hawkins addressed to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Norman Albanese, highlighting the dire situation in Palestine and seeking Australia’s intervention.

He said Israeli forces were responsible for the killing of civilians, including children and women, resulting in the death toll of 13,000 people in the Israeli attacks. He asserted that Palestinians had the right to resist against the occupants of their land, citing the rights granted to them under international law.

Characterising the actions of the Israeli government in Gaza as a blatant violation of international law and a grave abuse of human rights amounting to crimes against humanity, the JI leader underscored the urgency of addressing these violations.

The meeting also delved into discussions on the Kashmir issue and the economic situation in Pakistan.

Mr Hawkins expressed appreciation for the role of the JI in promoting peace.

Meanwhile, Haq presided over a meeting of the JI central working committee, which discussed the prevailing political, economic situation and upcoming election.

The JI leader demanded free and fair elections, saying the election practices held in the past had weakened democracy due to rigging. He added any future attempt to rig the polls would further destabilise the country. He said the JI would continue to struggle for the people of Gaza.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2023

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