Excuses are never in short supply for Pakistan bashing. This time armed it is the Gaza conflict. Pakistan is being blamed for its lukewarm response in support of Palestinians. Pakistan is being bracketed with some Arab countries who oppose the Hamas for its alleged intransigence which is providing Israel the excuse for its brutal action in Gaza. This is not correct. Pakistan has consistently supported the Palestinian cause, supported the two-state solution and condemned the Israeli occupation at all forums.
When the Israeli military started the operation ‘Protective Edge’ on July 8, 2014, the very next day Pakistan’s foreign Office issued a statement against this attack. The Foreign office stated that “Pakistan is deeply concerned at the recent escalation of violence and loss of lives in Gaza.” Additionally, Pakistan condemned the Israeli aggression and supported the international community’s efforts in bringing about a cessation of Israeli strikes. Since then, the Foreign Office of Pakistan has issued statements of concern at every press briefing and the spokesperson of the Foreign Office has called for international community’s action for immediate ceasefire.
The Prime minister of Pakistan Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif responded to this conflict immediately and called the Israeli acts as ‘genocide’. On Wednesday July 9 2014, shortly after the start of the Israeli military operation in Gaza, he said that Israeli atrocities against innocent Palestinians were unacceptable and were violation of human rights. The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s support to the people of Palestine in their right to have an independent state. His response was strong and timely. He also declared that the Pakistani nation will commemorate 17th August as ‘Palestine Day’. His adviser on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz said that Israeli aggression on Gaza had no justification. He stressed the need for immediate truce.
The National Assembly of Pakistan condemned the Israeli strikes. A resolution was passed on August 4, 2014 demanding unconditional ceasefire and compensation for destruction of entire infrastructure of Gaza. Government of Pakistan donated one million dollars to UNWRA for material support, specially food and medicines for the Palestinian people. Pakistan’s government observed 25th July 2014 as national day of mourning. Pakistan also urged to convene an emergency session of OIC in order to take effective action to stop Israeli brutality against innocent civilians.
People in large numbers turned up across the country to protest against the Israeli attack on Gaza. Common citizen of Pakistan condemned the attack on innocent civilians of Gaza, and through their protests they expressed their solidarity with Palestinians. Political and religious parties were more vocal and came out in large numbers to show their solidarity with the Palestinians by organizing rallies all across Pakistan.
Print and electronic media treated it as a leading story. Not only the state channel but all private television channels conducted talk shows and showed their solidarity with innocent Palestinian people. Print media published numerous articles and editorials.
Pakistan has always backed Palestine whenever it came under the attack of Israelis. Pakistan’s support goes back to the time of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah. He had said that “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.” Pakistan played a pivotal role in the process that led to the recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state in the UN. It is our shared belief that Pakistan would continue to stand with the Palestinian people till the time they achieve their right to self-determination.
It is time that print and electronic media, scholars and government of Pakistan highlight their efforts for Palestinians and rebut the propaganda of the anti-Pakistan lobbies.