Pakistan in diplomatic push for Gaza peace

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is working with other Muslim countries, particularly the Arab world, to push for an immediate cessation of hostilities by Israel against the Palestinians in Gaza Strip.

As Israel warned 1.1 million Palestinians to move from north Gaza to the south, there have been concerns that it may be planning a major ground offensive. There have been fears of massacre and ethnic cleansing in the Gaza Strip, which is one third of the size of capital Islamabad.

Against the backdrop of the deteriorating situation, Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani spoke to his UAE counterpart on Saturday.

“Received a call from HH Sheikh #Abdullah_bin_Zayed, Foreign Minister of UAE. We discussed escalating situation in #Gaza, the urgent need for cessation of hostilities and protection of civilians. A coordinated response was emphasised,” he wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

This was the first conversation between Pakistan and the top diplomat of a key Gulf country since the renewed conflict in the Middle East.

A Foreign Office official told Daily City News that Pakistan was in contact with other countries to prevent further escalation in hostilities by Israel.

Pakistan is a part of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) Contact Group on Palestine. “We are in touch with OIC members on the worsening situation,” added the official.

However, unlike the past Pakistan role in diplomat efforts on Middle East seems relegated. The foreign minister received a call from the UAE minister a week after the unprecedented operation by Hamas.

On the other hand, leaders from key Muslim countries are in contact with each other. Last week, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman spoke to Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi for the first time and both agreed to work together for protecting the interests of Palestine.

Officials here dismissed the perception that Pakistan was no longer in the “thick of things” on Middle East politics. They insisted that since the eruption of tensions, Pakistan was in contact with relevant countries to ensure the safety of Palestinians.

Meanwhile, In response to the escalating military situation in Gaza, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the current chair of the Islamic summit, has extended an invitation to hold an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The meeting is scheduled for October 18 and will take place at the General Secretariat headquarters in the Jeddah Governorate.

The objective of this meeting is to address the ongoing crisis in Gaza and its surrounding areas, with a focus on the deteriorating conditions that pose a threat to the lives of civilians and the overall security and stability of the region, according to an official statement from the OIC Secretariat in Jeddah.

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