ISTANBUL: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Wednesday said a sovereign homeland for the Palestinian people with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital remained the only road map for the Muslim Ummah and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
He was speaking at the extraordinary OIC summit, called by the Turkish President in his capacity as the Chair of the OIC here in this historic city to discuss the recent decision by the US Administration to shift the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“We are at the watershed moment again. The question on every Muslim mind today would be whether we can rise above our differences, stand united and give hope to our people, or once again adopt declarations which cannot be translated into effective actions,” the prime minister told the gathering of heads of state and government of more than 26 Islamic countries.
He said the US decision was a blatant attempt to set in motion steps to change the historic and lawful status of the Holy City. He said Pakistan urged the United States to rescind, fully comply with all applicable UN Security Council resolutions and recommit unequivocally to the two-state solution.
“On behalf of the people and Government of Pakistan, I wish to reiterate our strong condemnation of this decision,” he said and added that the international community had the opportunity to uphold the principles of justice and the rule of law.
He said Pakistan called upon the United Nations Security Council to play its role as envisaged under the UN Charter as its credibility would be questioned if it did not live up to its primary role in maintaining international peace and security.
The prime minister said both houses of Pakistan’s parliament had unanimously echoed these sentiments and “we all stand firmly behind the Palestinian people and their just struggle.”
Together with the OIC and the Islamic world, the prime minister said, Pakistan had always demonstrated its solidarity with the Palestinian people and their legitimate aspirations for a promised homeland. “Pakistan is proud to have piloted resolutions in the UN Security Council as Chair of OIC including resolutions 476 and 478,” he added.
He said Pakistan renewed its call for establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of international parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al- Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
Prime Minister Abbasi said that as OIC, the Muslim leaders needed serious introspection and reflected on two questions. “Firstly how we come to this pass. The fact is that we have not given concrete shape to our expressions of solidarity and unity,” he said and added that it had been true not only for Palestine but for other common causes also.
He said the world was a witness to a similar pattern of tragedy, both in scope and scale, adding that for seventy years, the people of Jammu and Kashmir had been subjected to illegal Indian occupation and blatant violation of their fundamental rights, including their right to self-determination. Here too, the UN Security Council resolutions continue to be defied and the just struggle for freedom conveniently branded as terrorism, he added.
Moreover, the prime minister said, another reason for the situation the Muslim world found itself was that :” We are not writing enough, producing enough. Without rectifying our political, economic, communication and technological weaknesses we will be unable to mount a sustained defence of our brethren whether in Palestine or Kashmir.
He said it was that increasing disarray that had allowed the US to take the deeply troubling decision to shift its embassy to Jerusalem.
The prime minister said the second question was “what should be our response? Should we accept this as fait accompli? We hope that a few demonstrations of rage would not dissipate in passive acceptance of the status quo.”
He said the Muslim Ummah’s response should be a clear expression and renewal of its solidarity and unity, adding that the Ummah must also urgently overcome its political differences, which would be the only guarantee to resist external pressure and reverse the losses and take its destinies in its own hands.
In the immediate term, he said, the OIC would suggest consideration of a number of options. Diplomatically, if the UNSC was unable to respond, “we should garner support in the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly.”
Secondly, he said, OIC decisions for economic actions to change the behaviour of the occupying forces should be followed up and thirdly, ICJ’s (International Court of Justice) opinion on the current move should be sought.
The prime minister expressed his deepest appreciation to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for taking the timely initiative to hold the extraordinary summit. (By Muhammad Ilyas Khan).