ISLAMABAD: Walking back the earlier stance he had adopted on the Palestine issue, President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday said that Pakistan firmly supports a just and peaceful resolution of the Palestine issue, based on the two-state solution.

According to an official press release issued by the Presidency, he expressed these views during a meeting with Dr Saleh bin Abdullah Humaid, the Imam Khatib at Masjid Al-Haram and adviser at Saudi Royal Courts of Saudi Arabia.

According to the statement, Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Ahmad Al-Malkiy, was also present during the meeting held at Aiwan-i-Sadr.

Earlier this month, the president had suggested “a one-state solution” to the Palestine issue, which prompted a strong backlash from different forums, including the Senate. It also compelled the interim government to respond immediately with Pakistan’s firm stance on the two-state solution of Palestine.

On Nov 11, the Presidency had issued a statement quoting President Alvi suggesting a “one state solution” to the ongoing Palestine-Israel conflict during a telephone conversation with his Palestinian counterpart Mahm­ud Abbas, but later sent a “revised” version of the press release with no mention of the president’s suggestion.

Shehbaz urges diplomacy, seeks ‘just and equitable’ fix for lasting peace in Middle East

“If two-state solution was not acceptable to Israel, then one-state solution is the only way where Jews, Muslims and good percentage of Christians could live to exercise equal political rights,” the earlier handout had quoted Dr Alvi as telling the Palestinian president.

During the meeting on Thursday, however, the president said the world must realise the pain of the Palestinian people and play its role in ending Israeli atrocities in Gaza.

The meeting discussed the situation in Gaza, Islamophobia, and other challenges faced by the Muslim world.

Welcoming the Imam Khatib, the President said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoyed excellent brotherly relations, based on common faith, shared history, and people-to-people contacts.

Dr Humaid stated that the Muslim world had unanimously adopted a stance on the Palestine issue, advocating for Palestinians’ rights based on the two-state solution. He emphasised the need for joint efforts by the Muslim world to end violence and atrocities in Palestine, offering humanitarian and diplomatic support.

The president also highlighted the issue of Islamophobia, particularly in India, and India’s atrocities against the people of held Jammu and Kashmir. He said that India was changing the demography of held Kashmir and was involved in ethnic cleansing of Muslims.

Shehbaz Sharif urges peace

Separately, former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif underscored the urgent need for lasting and sustainable peace in the Middle East in a statement on Thursday.

He emphasised concerted efforts for a permanent solution to the conflict, asserting that only diplomatic solutions are sustainable for achieving lasting peace.

Highlighting the critical situation in Palestine, Mr Sharif affirmed that lasting peace could only be realised through a just and equitable solution.

Reflecting on the tumultuous past 48 days, which he described as nothing short of an armageddon, Mr Sharif drew attention to the global impact of the ongoing crisis, urging a heightened focus on critical humanitarian needs.

Zulqernain Tahir in Lahore also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2023

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