Pakistan dispatches aid to Gaza
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday despatched humanitarian assistance to the besieged people of Gaza Strip as chartered aircraft carrying 100 tons of essential medical supplies, tents, and blankets departed for Egypt.
Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told a weekly news briefing that humanitarian assistance would be transferred to the people of Gaza from Egypt’s Rafah crossing.
It was not clear whether the assistance would make it to the people of Gaza as Israel was refusing to allow humanitarian assistance for 2.3 million Palestinians.
Pakistan despatched the aid in view of the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip, according to the spokesperson.
Gaza has been facing relentless air strikes from Israeli forces since Oct 7 due to an unprecedented operation by Hamas in Southern Israel.
The Israeli forces on Tuesday bombed a hospital in Gaza killing over 500 people.
Tel Aviv, however, denied it was behind the bombing, a stance endorsed by US President Joe Biden.
The extraordinary meeting of the OIC held in Jeddah on Wednesday challenged Israel’s claims and squarely blamed Tel Aviv for the barbaric attack on the Gaza hospital. The OIC termed the Israeli action as a war crime.
It also criticised the UN Security Council for failing to prevent the bloodshed while questioning the double standards of the West, which allowed Israel to carry out the massacre against Palestinians with impunity.
The OIC decided to convene the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers to take effective and practical steps on the evolving situation.
“The Joint Communiqué adopted after yesterday’s meeting reflects the unified stance of the Muslim Ummah on the Gaza situation. Pakistan has been actively engaged in consultation with OIC member states as part of our contribution in developing this consensus,” the spokesperson said.
Envoys briefed on deportation plan
The spokesperson confirmed that diplomatic missions were briefed by the interior ministry officials on Pakistan’s plans to deport all illegal foreigners.
“The briefing was on the illegal foreigners repatriation plan (IFRP), and Secretary Ministry of Interior Aftab Durrani and Acting Foreign Secretary Ambassador Rahim Hayat Qureshi gave this briefing,” she said.
According to the spokesperson, foreign envoys were briefed that the government announced the IFRP on Sept 26 with a view to repatriate all illegal and undocumented foreigners, including those who overstayed their visas, with effect from Nov 1.
“The right to regulate inward and outward movement of foreigners is inherent in the sovereignty of every state. The IFRP is a step to this end,” she explained.
“Every country has similar laws to regulate movement of foreign nationals. The repatriation of illegal foreigners is a purely administrative and legal matter and will be dealt under the prevailing laws of Pakistan,” she added.
The spokesperson said all foreign nationals legally residing and registered in Pakistan were beyond the purview of this plan.
She said the government remained committed to a thorough implementation of the IFRP in a phased and orderly manner and an elaborate institutional mechanism has been established to address any instances of harassment and maltreatment during the implementation of the plan.
The mechanism includes establishment of helplines at the federal and provincial levels to report any incidents for immediate redressal and formation of a high-level Coordination Committee at the Ministry of Interior to oversee the implementation of the IFRP.
This committee will be chaired by the interior secretary himself. So, this was basically the gist of the briefing that was given to foreign diplomats in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.