ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday to attend an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that would discuss the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza, confirmed his office in a brief statement.
The extraordinary summit is scheduled to be convened on Saturday at the request of Saudi Arabia in response to Israel’s war which has lasted for over a month and totally devastated the Palestinian territory.It aims to specify a joint Islamic position on the issue and spotlight the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza following the war crimes committed by the Israeli forces by deliberately targeting civilian population and residential neighborhoods.
“Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has reached King Khalid Airport in Riyadh on a three-day official visit,” the PM Office in Islamabad announced. “Governor of Riyadh Prince Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz, Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ahmed Farooq, and senior Saudi and Pakistani diplomatic staff welcomed him on arrival.”
Earlier in the day, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, a spokesperson for the Pakistani foreign office, said at a press briefing that her country was deeply concerned about the heinous crimes being committed against the Palestinian people as Israeli forces continued with their “campaign of terror and brutality” in Gaza.
“Pakistan welcomes the forthcoming Extraordinary Islamic Summit to be held on 11 November 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The OIC Summit has been convened in response to the unprecedented Israeli attacks on Gaza and its environs, which have posed a grave threat to civilian population and precipitated a humanitarian crisis,” she said.
She informed that the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers would also be held before the summit where Pakistan would be represented by its top diplomat Jalil Abbas Jilani.
“Pakistan will continue to play its role to advance international consensus and galvanize efforts for an urgent end to Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and urgent provision of relief assistance to the people of Gaza,” Baloch added.
Pakistan does not recognize the state of Israel and calls for an independent Palestinian state based on “internationally agreed parameters” and the pre-1967 borders with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
The foreign office spokesperson issued the statement after Israeli strikes hit near hospitals in Gaza City as the military pushed deeper into dense urban neighborhoods in its battle with Hamas. The city is the focus of Israel’s campaign following the Palestinian group’s Oct. 7 incursion in southern Israel.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, most of them in the Hamas attack, and about 240 hostages were taken from Israel into Gaza by Hamas.
The number of Palestinians killed in the war has risen to over 10,800, including more than 4,400 children, according to the Gaza health ministry. In the occupied West Bank, more than 160 Palestinians have been killed in violence and Israeli raids.
For over a month, Baloch said, the people of Gaza had been subjected to the worst forms of collective punishment.
“Israeli forces are committing crimes against humanity with impunity as they indiscriminately massacre defenseless civilians and deliberately deprive them of food, water, shelter and medical care. The use of phosphorus bombs and threats of nuclear holocaust are being made against a people under occupation who are being forcibly evicted from their land,” she said.
“As a tragedy of epic proportions unfolds in Gaza, the UN Security Council must act to fulfill its responsibility to uphold peace and call for an urgent and unconditional cease-fire, lifting of the siege and commencement of rapid, unhindered humanitarian assistance.”
She called on the “backers of Israel” to prevail upon it to abandon its plans for settler colonialism, forced displacement and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.