The Foreign Office issued a statement on Tuesday in response to Israel’s remarks on the human rights situation in Pakistan during a United Nations (UN) session. The Foreign Office spokesperson, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, described Israel’s statement as “politically motivated” and not aligned with the positive atmosphere of the meeting.
Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Adi Farjon, expressed deep concern about the human rights situation in Pakistan during the UN Human Rights Council session. Farjon highlighted issues such as enforced disappearances, torture, crackdown on peaceful protests, violence against religious minorities, and marginalised groups.
In response, the Foreign Office stated that Israel’s recommendations for Pakistan to address arbitrary arrests, torture, ill-treatment, and bring perpetrators to justice were deemed unnecessary. The FO also emphasized the need for Pakistan to abolish the death penalty, especially concerning children and individuals with disabilities. Israel called for the decriminalization of same-sex activities and the implementation of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.
Israel also expressed concern about the tightening of Pakistan’s blasphemy law through amendments passed by the National Assembly in January. Israel claimed that the blasphemy law is often used to target and persecute religious and minority groups.
The Foreign Office countered Israel’s statement by highlighting that Pakistan’s Universal Periodic Report, which reviews the human rights records of UN member states, was unanimously adopted in the same session. The FO stated that several states and civil society organizations commended Pakistan’s progress in promoting human rights. The FO dismissed Israel’s politically motivated statement, citing it as contradictory to the overall positive tone of the session and statements made by the majority of states. The Foreign Office added that considering Israel’s history of oppressing Palestinians, Pakistan does not require its advice on protecting human rights.
Meanwhile, government representatives linked Israel’s statement to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman perceived Israel’s criticism of Pakistan’s human rights situation as support for Imran Khan and the PTI. She alleged an alliance and collusion between Israel and Pakistan’s enemies, who express hostility towards Palestinians, Muslims, and Kashmiris on various international platforms. Sherry Rehman connected Israel’s statement to the events of May 9, where widespread protests occurred following Imran Khan’s arrest, resulting in property damage, including military installations.
Sherry Rehman also condemned Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Interior, Attaullah Tarar, echoed her sentiments and stated that Israel’s false narrative at the UN meeting regarding human rights violations in Pakistan was evidence of their support for Imran Khan and the May 9 incidents. Tarar alleged that those responsible for the mayhem had links to the enemy and referenced Hakeem Saeed Shaheed’s earlier indication of an imposed leader with support from the Jewish lobby. He also mentioned the foreign funding case against the PTI, where the money trail allegedly led to Israel. Tarar stated that the PTI had connections with anti-state elements, as Israel would not fund a pro-Pakistan party. He emphasized that the perpetrators of the May 9 incidents would face legal consequences since no one is above the state.