Pakistan contacts Islamic states over Jerusalem
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has told the United States that the controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by Washington could spoil its relations with the whole Muslim world, diplomatic sources said.
Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Pakistan had contacted the US on the Jerusalem issue and warned that this decision could fuel global tension.
“We have been trying to improve ties and the Jerusalem issue can play a spoiler. We have told them the Jerusalem decision by the US was unacceptable to all the Muslims. We (Pakistan) will never accept this decision,” he said.
Another official at the ministry said that Pakistan was contacting the Islamic countries to build pressure on the US. He said with the help of the Muslim-majority countries, Pakistan will raise the issue at the international forums.
“There have been contacts with Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and other (Muslim-majority) countries. We will contest Washington’s controversial decision at all forums. The US has become a party by siding with Israel,” said the official.
He added: “Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey shared Pakistan’s concern and were ready to challenge Washington’s unilateral decision. We will raise this issue in the United Nations.”
This week, US President Donald Trump defied overwhelming global opposition and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He directed the state department to shift the US embassy from Tel Aviv.
“While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump said in a short speech at the White House.
The UN Security Council is likely to meet today (December 8) to discuss Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The meeting has been requested by eight countries including the UK, Italy and France – from the 15-member council. The bloc believes Jerusalem should be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.
Trump’s controversial decision comes at a time when Pak-US relations are already at low ebb. US Defence Secretary James Mattis visited Pakistan this week and made it clear that his country had not ‘seen any practical change’ in Pakistan’s attitude even after several high-profile visits were exchanged between the uneasy allies to raise the trust level.
Just before Mattis met the Pakistani civil and military leadership, Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo warned Pakistan that his country will do “everything we can” to eliminate the alleged safe havens of the terrorists in Pakistan if Islamabad failed to act.
Mattis was in Pakistan only for a few hours before he flew to Kuwait. The main agenda of his visit was to pressure Pakistan to act indiscriminately against the terrorists and eliminate the terror networks.
Washington had long been pressing Pakistan to act against the Haqqani network. In August, US President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of protecting the ‘agents of chaos’ and warned to end the alliance if Pakistan did not show results.
The US is also furious over the release of Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed – whom the US and India accuse of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.
An official statement released by the foreign ministry, meanwhile, said: “Pakistan joins the international community in expressing its strong opposition and condemnation at the decision of the US administration to recognize the occupied city of Al Quds Al Sharif/Jerusalem as the so-called capital of Israel and the plan to relocate its embassy there. It is deeply regrettable that pleas from states across the globe not to alter the legal and historical status of Al-Quds Al-Sharif have been ignored, more out of choice than necessity.”
It added: “This decision represents a serious violation of international law and applicable UN Security Council resolutions, particularly UNSCR 478. It is a serious setback to the rule of law and international norms. It signals a severe blow to the Middle East peace process as well.”
Pakistan, it said, shared the international outrage and is deeply concerned over the implications of this decision for international peace and security, especially in the Middle East.
Pakistan calls upon the UN Security Council to take cognizance of this situation and take steps in accordance with the UN Charter, the statement added.
Pakistan urges the US to revisit its decision as soon as possible in order to avoid the potentially grave repercussions in the region and beyond. “The government of Pakistan welcomes the announcement by Turkey to convene an Extraordinary Islamic Summit next week to discuss this serious issue,” said the statement.
President Mamnoon Hussain has said that Pakistan strongly condemns the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the United States.
Talking to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on telephone, President Mamnoon Hussain said it will have a negative impact on the peace and stability of the region.
While supporting the proposal of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to call the OIC summit, the President hoped that Muslim Ummah will take a strong notice of making Jerusalem the capital of Israel and OIC summit will adopt a tough stance on it.
He stressed that declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will be denounced at all international forum.