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EDITORIAL: Finally, the president walked back to the country’s stated stand on the two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We still fail to fathom what possessed President Alvi to depart from Pakistan’s official support for the two-state solution for the Israeli occupation of Palestine — unilaterally and without confirming with or informing the foreign ministry, that too to his Palestinian counterpart — and embrace the controversial one-state solution instead? The press release issued after the exchange went so far as to say that “if the two-state solution was not acceptable to Israel, then one-state solution was the only way where Jews, Muslims and [a] good percentage of Christians could live to exercise equal political rights”.

It seems, of late, the president tends to forget the limits of his office and the responsibility that comes with being the ceremonial head of state. He’s been openly siding with one particular political party for the longest time, and now he’s begun issuing shocking statements that embarrass the country.

For, following his solution to the Palestinian problem, which must have surprised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the government was forced to issue clarifications to the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Countries) secretariat, other “concerned organisations”, UN bodies and the Palestinians themselves. This is far from the ideal way for the Muslim world’s only nuclear power to take a stake in one of the most pressing issues facing the whole world – how to stop genocide of Palestinians immediately.

President Alvi’s idea wouldn’t have been a smart one in the best of times. And now, when even his ceremonial powers are limited, since the expiry of his official term, he needs to tread more carefully than usual. And it beggars belief that he did not even bother to consult with the relevant ministry before such an important phone call.

His action has badly dented Pakistan’s standing in the international community, among Muslim countries and especially with the Palestinians. For, his comments, as confirmed by the press release that was later withdrawn, played into Israel’s designs of avoiding debate about a return to the pre-1967 Six-Day War borders, as envisioned in the two-state solution and advocated by UN Resolution No 242.

And he’s also caused yet another needless uproar in local politics. PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) Senator Raza Rabbani sought an explanation from the caretaker foreign minister and demanded the president’s resignation. This shows disturbing disarray in the functioning of different arms of the federation.

When the highest offices of government are in the dark about its own stated and defended policy, on an issue of critical importance, it’s no surprise that nobody takes our positions too seriously on pressing global matters.

Needless to say, of course, that such errors must never be repeated. These are times when Pakistan should be pushing, if not leading, Muslim countries towards more meaningful action in Gaza. Yet our political elite is busy falling all over itself in the fight for power locally and making a joke of the country in international circles. We’ve been a house divided for so long that even the top-most government offices have become dysfunctional.

It may have been just another out of place remark as far as President Alvi is concerned, given his track record, but it has exposed dangerous cleavages in the working of the government of Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

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KU Nov 25, 2023 11:37am
That may be, but our homegrown problems and very bleak future should take more space in BR. The less talked about projects sponsored by the government, some including interest-free loans. should be highlighted by the media, and the urgency of these projects is leaving behind existing farmers and industrialists in consistent misery.
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Hujjathullah M.H.Babu Sahib Nov 25, 2023 07:00pm
The quote from the Press Release is a gem ! When diplomatic solutions gets and stays elusive it is quite reasonable to take a dip into realpolitks instead !
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werwer Nov 26, 2023 06:49am
"These are times when Pakistan should be pushing, if not leading, Muslim countries towards more meaningful action in Gaza." Is this a joke? Pakistan is not able to lead it self, LOL, and they want to lead other countries. If a Palestinian were offered a choice between living in Israel-occupied Gaza or Pakistan, they would choose Gaza.
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NXT Nov 26, 2023 11:27am
Dear editor, take heart. Leaders of our ‘Islamic Republic’ are rarely taken seriously in the world.
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