New ‘centres of privilege’ opposed: Expansion of UNSC
By Baqir Sajjad Syed
ISLAMABAD, Jan 23: Pakistan on Wednesday stopped short of denunciating Britain’s renewed support for India’s bid for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and reiterated its opposition to the ‘creation of new centres of privilege’ on the pretext of UNSC expansion.
At his weekly press briefing, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said: “We support just and equitable reform that corresponds to the interests of all, not just a few member states. We support equal and non-discriminatory approach for all regional groups with regard to their representation on the council.”
He said Pakistan had noted British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s statement on the last day of his trip to India, in which he had said that the UK backed India’s permanent membership.
OIC MEETING: He said executive committee of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) would meet later this week or early next week on Iran’s request to discuss the issue of Israeli blockade of Gaza.
The OIC body comprises Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Uganda, Malaysia, Qatar, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and the OIC’s secretary-general.
Condemning Israeli actions, Mr Sadiq said they constituted a flagrant breach of international norms and humanitarian laws.
This situation, he feared, could lead to an escalation of tension in the region.
Pakistan, he said, called upon the international community to ensure an urgent and complete lifting of Israeli blockade of Gaza and the resumption of fuel, food and other humanitarian supplies to the Palestinian people.
PRESIDENT’S EUROPE VISIT: Mr Sadiq said President Pervez Musharraf’s visit was for promoting better understanding with political and economic partners and to remove misunderstandings and misperceptions about the situation in Pakistan and to inform European leaders, media and the Pakistani community abroad about political developments in the country.
He said that although President Musharraf had not been invited for the visits, it was a “working tour arranged through diplomatic channels”.
Even his appearance before the Foreign Relations Committee and the South Asian Delegation of the European Parliament had been on Pakistan’s request.
ANTI-TERROR OPERATIONS: Mr Sadiq said President Musharraf was still in-charge of anti-terror operations.
“President Musharraf, as the head of state and the government, is in-charge of the country and the Chief of Army Staff Gen Kayani is part of that government,” he said.