ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari reiterated on Sunday, February 17, that Pakistan would continue to render its unwavering support to the Palestinian people till the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. The President addressed a banquet hosted in honour of President of the State of Palestine, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Chairman PPP Bilawal Zardari Bhutto were also present on the occasion. The banquet was attended by Chairman Senate, President AJK, Governor and Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan, Federal Ministers, MNAs, parliamentarians, politicians, diplomats, high ranking officials, members of the civil society and media persons.
President Zardari said that Pakistan would continue to voice its support for the Palestinian cause at every forum as Pakistan did at the 67th UNGA session, and conveyed Pakistan’s full support to the admission of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations.
The Palestinian President Mr. Mahmoud Abbas in his statement extended the deepest respect and appreciation of the Palestinian people for the principled position of Pakistan and its sincere commitment towards the Palestinian people over the years and towards its just cause in the international bodies and at all levels.
While expressing his joy over achievement of non-member observer state status by Palestine at the UN, Zardari noted with pride that Pakistan played a pivotal role in the process that led to the recognition of legitimate Palestinian rights and hoped that it would prove to be a major stepping stone to Palestine’s full membership of the UN.
The president said that Pakistan strongly condemned the building of illegal settlements in the occupied territories and called upon the international community to stop Israel from building new settlements to the east and south of Occupied East Jerusalem, and added that these settlements, if allowed to be built, would deal a death blow to the two-nation state solution. The president termed the complete disregard by Israel for international law as a slap on the face of the international community.
Zardari said that the continued denial of inalienable right of self-determination to the people of Palestine as well as Indian-administered Kashmir carried the risk of instability of the Middle East and South Asian regions and stressed the need for achievement of a global consensus on the goals and means to resolve the two conflicts, which he continued, would reflect the wisdom and maturity of the international community. He further added that unfortunately these goals remain elusive with no engagement and practical steps taken towards their realisation.
The president said that Pakistan and Palestine have a close, strong and historical relationship which was founded on the aspirations and heartfelt sentiments of the people of the two countries and added that Pakistan shared the pain and anxiety of its Palestinian brethren. While eulogising the creation of Pakistan as result of struggles of the Muslims, he expressed his confidence that the Palestinian dream of a separate homeland would also succeed. He assured his Palestinian counterpart that 180 million Pakistanis stood shoulder to shoulder with their Palestinian brothers in their courageous fight against the illegal occupation of their homeland and reassured him that Pakistan would continue to stand with the Palestinian people till the time they achieved their right to self-determination.
While appreciating the leadership role played by his Palestinian counterpart in his struggle for freedom for the last 60 years, Zardari said that Pakistan greatly admired and deeply respected his dedication to the cause of the Palestinian people and expressed his confidence that under his leadership, the people of Palestine would bravely confront the challenges faced by them today. Terming the visit of the Palestinian delegation to Pakistan as meaningful, het said that PLO was first recognised as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people at the Islamic Summit held in Lahore in February, 1974 which also lead to the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Palestine.
The president concluded his statement by a quote from Quaid-e-Azam, wherein the Quaid had said, “But no nation, no people who are worth living as a nation, can achieve anything great without making great sacrifices, such as the Arabs of Palestine are making.” Zardari also prayed for Allah’s blessings on the people of Palestine and for their just struggle for freedom, peace and prosperity and warmly welcomed Mr Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, and distinguished members of his delegation to Pakistan.