ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar returned home on Sunday after attending an extraordinary joint Islamic-Arab summit in Riyadh where Muslim countries called for an immediate end to military operations in Gaza and rejected Israel’s justification of its actions against Palestinians as self-defense.
The Middle East has been on edge since Hamas fighters rampaged into Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, according to the Israeli government. Since then, Israel has escalated its assault on Gaza, where 11,078 people had been killed as of Friday, 40 percent of them children, Palestinian officials say.
Saudi Arabia has sought to press the United States and Israel for an end to hostilities in Gaza, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gathered Arab and Muslim leaders over the weekend to reinforce that message.
He also met Pakistani PM Kakar on the sidelines of the summit, who appreciated Saudi Arabia for its efforts in “promoting the Palestinian cause.”
“Prime Minister Kakar appreciated the role and efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the sagacious leadership of His Highness the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, for promoting the Palestinian cause,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
“He thanked the Saudi leadership for the timely initiative of convening the Summit with a view to evolving Joint Arab-Islamic Action on the deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
The statement said both leaders underlined the need for “urgent collaboration” to stop Israel from its “indiscriminate aggression” against Palestinians. The Saudi crown prince and Pakistan’s premier demanded Israel lift its blockade on Gaza to facilitate humanitarian aid and medical assistance to the Palestinian population.
“The Prime Minister denounced the Israeli action of bombing hospitals, refugee camps, schools and residential buildings, resulting in the loss of more than 10 thousand precious lives,” the statement said.
Kakar reiterated his commitment to a “just and enduring” resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which would result in the creation of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
The summit in Riyadh ended as hospitals in the north of the Palestinian enclave, including the large Al-Shifa complex, were blockaded by Israeli forces and barely able to care for those inside, with newborns dead at Shifa and more at risk from power outages amid intense fighting nearby, according to medical staff.