Right from Independence in 1947, Pakistan’s leaders have prided themselves on being the staunchest champions of the Palestine issue. Pakistan’s governments over the years have often shown more concern for issues of the Muslim Ummah – Kashmir or Palestine – than the internal problems of the country. Once again, while the country faces multiple challenges – a once in a lifetime pandemic, economic slowdown, and regional upheaval – the government of the day is focused on Palestine.
On Tuesday, May 18, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced that Pakistan was “the first Islamic country” that “adopted” a “very clear and strong stance on Palestine.” Chaudhury argued that “the foundation of Pakistan’s policy on Palestine was laid down by the Quaid-i-Azam and Prime Minister Imran Khan was its trustee.” He further added, “[Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan said what was in his heart for Palestine was on Imran Khan’s tongue. There is a very big role of Prime Minister Imran Khan.” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is traveling to Turkey, then to New York to participate in negotiations at the UN General Assembly.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) released a statement reiterating “that the Israeli state’s continued brutal assault on the people of Gaza is in flagrant violation of international law and universal human rights standards. In the last week alone, over 200 civilians—including at least 60 children—have been killed. That the Israeli offensive has targeted not only civilians, but also children, health workers and the media indicate a level of shocking impunity, which the wider international community ignores at its peril. It is simply not enough to continue to say that a state has the right to ‘defend’ itself in the face of such a gross imbalance of power, compounded by decades of violent settler colonialism and state-sponsored crimes against a beleaguered people. HRCP stands in solidarity with the people of Gaza and calls on the international community to live up to the human rights standards they have espoused.”