Shut up call to Israel

Before scrutinizing Pakistan’s human rights record, the representative should consider the plight of Palestinians who face daily oppression and endure the aggression of the occupying forces

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Discussions surrounding the upcoming elections are taking place everywhere. Our front page is carrying news stories about the elections – election schedule, dissolution of assemblies dates, possible caretaker people, etc.

I wanted to write about the PML-N’s kick start  of electoral campaign works, which the party representatives – Federal Minister Rana Sanaullah and Awais Leghari – announced in a press conference on Friday. Meanwhile, several other political parties are expressing their views on the matter. Electoral reforms are being pursued, and there are debates on whether to prioritize reforms before conducting elections. I have heard that multiple options are being considered, including allowing the current government to continue, establishing a caretaker government, announcing elections with possible delays, or ensuring elections are held on time.

But my today’s piece is dedicated to the Israeli interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan.

During the 53rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Israeli representative raised concerns about human rights in Pakistan, specifically addressing issues of enforced disappearances, violence, and the suppression of peaceful protests. The representative called for action to halt violence against women and religious minorities. The other panelists present in the session looked on with surprise, given the extensive human rights violations experienced by Palestinians under Israeli occupation.

Before scrutinizing Pakistan’s human rights record, the representative should consider the plight of Palestinians who face daily oppression and endure the aggression of the occupying forces. The representative should witness the bombings carried out by Israeli planes, the violation of the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the footage capturing armed Israeli forces disrespecting Palestinians by entering the sacred mosque with their shoes on and targeting unarmed civilians. These occurrences highlight that when it comes to upholding human rights, Israel should be the first on the list, followed by countries like America and India.

The biased nature of the Israeli representative’s comments becomes evident as they overlook the bloodshed and suffering of innocent Muslims in Palestine, a result of Israel’s establishment through forced means.

Let us acknowledge the success of our security forces to thwart internal and external conspiracies on May 9, which shattered the dreams of those who wished to see civil unrest and chaos in Pakistan. These detractors, disappointed in their failed aspirations, are now searching for human rights violations to criticize. They conveniently ignore the fact that Palestinians have been held captive for decades.

It is disheartening to witness the convergence of narrative between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Israeli representative, both discussing human rights, enforced disappearances, and peaceful protests. It is worth noting that their perspective fails to distinguish between a peaceful protest and acts of violence, such as burning state property, attacking the residence of Pakistan’s founder, setting fire to the Radio Pakistan building, storming the General Headquarters, and desecrating martyrs’ memorials. For Israel, such acts of vandalism seem to be construed as peaceful protests, as they are accustomed to a culture of violence and disregard for human life.

These self-proclaimed leaders of human rights should first acknowledge the bloodshed in Palestine, Kashmir, and Afghanistan before questioning others. They should engage in introspection and hold themselves accountable before speaking out. If those responsible for persecution around the world possess even an ounce of moral courage, they should apologize to the oppressed.

The government has responded commendably and promptly to this issue, presenting its position and issuing a strong condemnation. Alongside condemnation, it is crucial to continue denouncing such efforts at all levels and ensure provisions are in place to address and counteract these narratives.

The spokesperson of the Foreign Office has firmly rejected Israel’s statement, considering it an unwarranted interference in Pakistan’s internal politics. They emphasized that the United Nations Human Rights Council has unanimously approved Pakistan’s Universal Periodic Report, which has acknowledged the country’s efforts to address human rights concerns, while highlighting Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. Pakistan does not require Israel’s advice in this matter. The Israeli narrative sharply contrasts with the positive tone of the UN session and the majority of states’ statements.