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Pakistan calls for Gaza ceasefire, relief for besieged Palestinians at Islamic convention in a US city

WASHINGTON , May 27 (APP): Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Masood Khan, has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and a surge in urgently needed humanitarian assistance for the suffering Palestinians in the war-torn enclave who, he said, were being pushed from one location to another in search of safety.

Addressing the 49th Convention organized by Muslim bodies — ICNA and MAS — in Baltimore, Maryland, he urged the United States to demonstrate leadership in ensuring the implementation of two-state solution to resolve the deadly Middle East crisis. The annual three-day convention is being attended by thousands of Muslims from across the United States and other parts of the world.

Israel’s deadly war in Gaza, now in its eighth month, has killed nearly 36,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children. Around 80% of the population’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes, severe hunger is widespread and U.N. officials say parts of the territory are experiencing famine.

Ambassador Masood Khan also paid tribute to the South African government for its “singular contribution” to uphold international humanitarian law — obviously referring to the genocide case that Pretoria brought against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“You deserve admiration of entire international community. The comity of nations respects you as a standard-bearer for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination”, he told the gathering where a special award was presented to a representative of South Africa for backing the Palestinian cause.

Earlier, Dr. Mohsin Ansari, President of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), said that South Africa “stood up, raised its voice for the Palestinians, went to ICJ and showed the world what courage, justice and truth means.”

Ismail Esau, Charge d’Affaires at the South African Embassy in Washington, who received received the award, highlighted the suffering of Palestinians under occupation and the ongoing military operations.

“For South Africa, there remains a special sense of responsibility towards Palestine as Nelson Mandela had insisted that the Palestine issue is a great moral cause of the time and South Africa’s freedom would remain incomplete as long as Palestine is not free,” he added.

In his remarks, Ambassador Masood Khan, noting that ICNA represents all nationalities who have Muslim identity, said, “Your presence here sends a message of peace, love and harmony across the United States and around the world.”

“ICNA is building synergies in the United States; with the communities and also across the belief systems. We pay tribute to you for service to humanity,” he said.

Masood Khan paid tributes to the leadership and convening power of Dr. Ansari, for his invaluable services to promote the cause of the ICNA and reaching out to people in distress in Pakistan and other parts of the world.

On his part, Dr. Ansari informed the gathering that ICNA had positively impacted 12 million people through its various activities. He said that in 2023, almost one million people were served.

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