Pakistan ‘regrets’ US veto on Palestine’s UN membership bid

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch speaks during the weekly press briefing in this still taken on April 19, 2024. — X/@ForeignOfficePk
Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch speaks during the weekly press briefing in this still taken on April 19, 2024. — X/@ForeignOfficePk

Islamabad has regretted the Washington’s decision on a move to pave way for recognition of the Palestinian state by vetoing a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for Palestine’s full membership of the world organisation.

“Pakistan is deeply disappointed by the result of last night’s debate at the UNSC and its inability to reach a consensus and recommend Palestine’s membership to UN General Assembly,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said in her weekly press briefing on Friday.

“We regret the US decision to veto the draft resolution granting full membership of the UN to Palestine,” she added.

The Security Council blocked Palestine’s bid to become a full member of the UN due to a US veto on a widely-supported resolution that would have recommended the granting of such status.

The proposal, submitted to the 15-member Council by Algeria, received 12 votes in favour, with the US casting a negative vote and Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK) abstaining.

The UNSC resolution required at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes from its five permanent members — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — to pass.

“We believe, the time has come for admission of Palestine to the UN. This will be a step towards correcting the historic injustice suffered by Palestinians for over 75 years. It will affirm their right to self-determination,” she remarked.

The spokesperson said that the people of Palestine had their inherent right to live in a sovereign Palestinian state with the pre-1967 borders and Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

To a question, she said the upcoming summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Gambia would consider several proposals including those on Palestine, Jammu and Kashmir as well as Islamophobia.

The spokesperson said that during the recent visit of a high-powered Saudi delegation to Islamabad, Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud had also called for de-escalation, immediate ceasefire, and lifting of the siege in Gaza.

The stumbling block in the implementation of the ceasefire is the Israeli occupation authorities, she added.

Saudi delegation visit ‘very constructive’

Apprising the media of the diplomatic engagements during the last week, she started with the visit of a Saudi delegation to accelerate discussions and enhance cooperation in the follow-up of the understanding reached between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud during the former’s recent visit to the kingdom.

She said at the investment conference held during the visit, both sides discussed investment projects in energy, mining, IT, construction, human resource development, and exports.

Baloch said during the “very positive and constructive” visit, Pakistan discussed several projects for Saudi investment and expressed the hope that both sides would conclude their negotiations soon to materialise the projects.

Curbs on Muslims in IIOJK condemned

Responding to a query, the spokesperson said the statement by the Indian external affairs minister on Kashmir was unfortunate as it was India that had taken the Kashmir issue to the United Nations. She said nothing could absolve Indian authorities from their responsibilities of implementing the UN resolutions on the dispute.

She expressed dismay over the Indian authorities’ decision to prohibit the observance of key religious events like Jumuatul Wida, Shab-e-Qadr and Eid ul Fitr at the Srinagar Jamia Masjid. This was the fifth consecutive year when Eid ul Fitr congregation was not allowed at this mosque, she added.

The spokesperson said imposing curbs on religious leaders and preventing Kashmiris from religious gatherings posed serious challenges to the religious freedom of Muslims in Indian Illegally Offupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

She reiterated that Pakistan would continue extending its moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir till their right to self-determination in accordance with the UN Security Council’s resolutions.

Repatriation policy

To a question, Baloch reiterated that Pakistan’s repatriation policy was limited to the illegal foreigners living in Pakistan and the country has so far no plan to repatriate the Afghan Citizen Card (ACC) holders.

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