President Asif Ali Zardari has reiterated that Pakistan would continue to render its unwavering support to Palestinian people till the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Chairman PPP Bilawal Zardari Bhuttoo were also present on the occasion.
The Luncheon was attended Chairman Senate, President AJK, Governor and Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan, Federal Ministers, MNAs, Parliamentarians, politicians, diplomats, high ranking officials, members of the civil society and media persons.
The President said that Pakistan would continue to voice its support for Palestinian cause at every forum as Pakistan did at the 67th UNGA session, and conveyed Pakistan’s fullest support to the admission of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations.
President while expressing his joy over achieving of non-member observer state status by the Palestine at the UN noted with pride that Pakistan played a pivotal role in the process that led to the recognition of legitimate Palestinian rights and hoped that it would prove to be a major stepping stone to Palestine’s full membership of the UN.
Expressing his dismay at the negative reaction of Israel to the recognition of Palestine as a State, he voiced his concern over mocking of the UN by Israel which he said violated international law with impunity and champions of justice and human rights did nothing but watch.
The President said that Pakistan strongly condemns the building of illegal settlements in the occupied territories and called upon the international community to stop Israel from building new settlements to the east and south of Occupied East Jerusalem, and added that these settlements, if allowed to be built, would dealt a death blow to the two-nation state solution. The President termed the complete disregard by Israel for international law as a slap on the face of the international community.
Zardari said that the continued denial of inalienable right of self-determination to the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir and Palestine carried the risk of instability of the Middle East and South Asian regions and stressed the need for achievement of a global consensus on the goals and means to resolve the two conflicts, which he continued, would reflect the wisdom and maturity of the international community. He further added that unfortunately these goals remain elusive with no engagement and practical steps taken towards their realization.
The President said that Pakistan and Palestine have close, strong and historical relationships which were founded on the aspirations and heartfelt sentiments of the people of the two countries and added that Pakistan share the pain and anxiety of its Palestinian brethren. While eulogizing creation of Pakistan as result of struggles of the Muslims, he expressed his confidence that Palestine dream of separate homeland will also succeed.
He assured his Palestinian counterpart that 180 million Pakistanis stand shoulder to shoulder with their Palestinian brothers in their courageous fight against illegal occupation of their homeland and reassured him that Pakistan would continue to stand with the Palestinian people till the time they would achieved their right to self-determination.
While appreciating the leadership role played by his Palestinian counterpart in his struggle for freedom for the last 60 years, the President said that Pakistan greatly admired and deeply respected his dedication to the cause of Palestinian people and expressed his confidence that under his leadership, people of Palestine would bravely confront the challenges facing by them today.
Terming the visit of the Palestinian delegation to Pakistan as meaningful, the President said that PLO was first recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people at the Islamic Summit held in Lahore in February, 1974 which also lead to the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Palestine.
President concluded his statement by a quote from Quaid-e-Azam, wherein the Founder of Pakistan had said: "But no nation, no people who are worth living as a nation, can achieve anything great without making great sacrifices, such as the Arabs of Palestine are making.”
The President also prayed for Allah’s blessings on the people of Palestine and for their just struggle for freedom, peace and prosperity and warmly welcomed the Mr Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, and distinguished members of his delegation to their visit to Pakistan.
The Palestine President Mr. Mahmoud Abbas in his statement extended the deepest respect and appreciation of the Palestinian people for the principled position of Pakistan and its sincere commitment towards the Palestinian people over the years and towards its just cause in the international bodies and at all levels.
While acknowledging the support of Pakistan to the Palestine in international foras particularly during the voting in the General Assembly to upgrade the status of the State of Palestine into an observer state Status he reiterated that Palestine will continue to work hard to achieve their right to freedom and independence by ending the accumulated suffering of Palestine refugees through 65 years of homelessness.
The Palestine President also thanked the President and the Government of Pakistan for agreeing to build the Embassy of the State of Palestine in Islamabad. This gesture, he said underlined strength of their mutual relationships.
While thanking the President for an excellent hospitality extended to him, and to members of his delegation the Palestinian President wished Pakistan both stability and prosperous future.
Earlier, on his arrival at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, President Mr. Mahmoud Abbas was received by the President. A smartly turned out contingents of armed forces presented a salute to the distinguished guest. He also inspected the guard of honour.
Later, President Asif Ali Zardari and President Mahmoud Abbas unveiled the plaque of the foundation of the embassy of the State of Palestine.