Israel’s criticism of human rights in Pakistan ‘politically motivated’: FO

Farjon mentioned that Israel was concerned over the National Assembly passing amendments in January to tighten the blasphemy law in Pakistan.


July 12, 2023

ISLAMABADIslamabad on Tuesday termed a statement by Israel that was critical of the human rights situation in Pakistan during a United Nations (UN) session “politically motivated” and “fundamentally at variance with the positive tone” of the meeting.

The rebuttal came after Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN Adi Farjon said during a sitting of the UN Human Rights Council that the country was “deeply concerned about the overall rights situation in Pakistan where enforced disappearances, torture, crackdown on peaceful protests and violence against religious minorities and other marginalised groups remain prevalent”.

She added: “Israel believes that it is essential that Pakistan heeds our recommendations to take all appropriate steps to prevent arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment and bring perpetrators of such acts to justice and end the widespread use of the death penalty, especially against children and persons with disabilities.”

The envoy said Israel also called for Islamabad to “decriminalise same-sex activities” in line with international human rights standards and adopt a “comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation” in this regard.

She further mentioned that Israel was also concerned over the National Assembly passing amendments in January to tighten the blasphemy law in Pakistan, which she claimed was “often used to target and persecute religious and other minority groups”.

In its rebuttal, the Foreign Office (FO) noted that Pakistan’s Universal Periodic Report — a process which involves a review of the human rights records of UN member states — was adopted unanimously in the same session.

“Several states and civil society organisations commended Pakistan on the progress achieved in promoting human rights,” the statement said, adding that Israel’s “politically motivated statement is fundamentally at variance with the otherwise positive tone of the session and the statements made by a vast majority of states”.

“Given Israel’s long history of oppression of Palestinians, Pakistan can certainly do without its advice on protecting human rights,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, government representatives linked the statement by Israel’s envoy with the PTI, with Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman seeing criticism of the country’s human rights situation as Tel Aviv’s “support for Imran Khan”.

Addressing a press conference alongside Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Interior Attaullah Tarar in Islamabad, she said Israel had issued a “highly condemnable” statement on the alleged violation of PTI’s human rights.

“It is now evident that they have a nefarious alliance, they have a collusion that is an old one,” she alleged.

Sherry went on to say that “it was a collusion in which Pakistan’s enemies, who spew venom against Palestinians, Muslims and Kashmiris at every international forum across the world, were now together supporting the PTI.”

The minister also linked the statement to the events of May 9, when countrywide protests had erupted after Imran’s arrest during which several properties, including military installations, were vandalised.

“Everyone now knows who benefitted from May 9. Everyone knows why there was foreign funding. Everyone now knows why Imran Khan is called a foreign agent,” she said.

Sherry also berated Israel for its treatment of Palestinians.

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