ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Friday sharply criticised Israel for its flagrant violations of international law and urged the UN Security Council to intervene, hold Israel accountable, and assist in restoring global peace and security.

“Instead of showing restraint and upholding international law, Israel has brazenly continued with its blatant violation of international law,” said FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch when she was asked at the weekly media briefing to comment on the reports of Israel executing strikes against Iran.

Media reports earlier quoted US and Israeli officials claiming that Israel had carried out “missile and drone strikes” targeting Isfahan and Tabriz.

While avoiding directly commenting on those reports, the FO spokesperson said the situation was still being assessed. “We would comment when there are more details,” she added.

However, she reiterated Pakis­tan’s concern over the escalation in the region.

With Tehran, which retaliated following an airstrike on its consulate in Damascus, downplaying the attack being claimed by Israel, it appears that its restrained response may have temporarily averted the risk of a regional war for now.

Besides echoing global calls for de-escalation between Israel and Iran, including those from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and a joint G7 communique, Ms Baloch also highlighted the need for urgent international efforts to prevent the expansion of hostilities in the region and to secure a ceasefire in Gaza.

She repeated Islamabad’s criticism of Israel’s attack on Iranian consulate in Damascus, terming it “irresponsible and reckless” action that further vitiated security in an already volatile region. “We reiterate our call on the UN Security Council to prevent Israel from its adventurism in the region and to hold it to account for its violations of international law. The council should actively contribute to efforts for restoring and maintaining international peace and security,” the spokesperson said.

‘Deep disappointment’

The FO spokesperson expressed Pakistan government’s “deep disappointment” after the US vetoed a resolution that would have granted full UN membership to Palestine. “We regret the US decision to veto the draft resolution granting full membership of the UN to Palestine,” she said.

She said: “The people of Palestine have an inherent right to live in a sovereign, independent, and contiguous state within the borders of June 4, 1967, with Al-Quds Al-Shareef as its capital.”

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2024

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