Pakistan laud ‘courageous’ UN workers serving Gazans amid relentless Israeli bombing

Amb Munir Akram

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 04 (APP): A top Pakistani diplomat has paid high tributes to the staff members of UNRWA, the U.N. agency mandated to serve Palestinian refugees, for their “courageous work” amid “Israel’s brutal campaign of bombardment, air strikes, and now a ground invasion,” as he renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire.

“I would like to express my great admiration for the courageous work of UNRWA and for the bold statement that was made by the Commission-General Phillipe Lazzarini when he said that what was required first and foremost was a ceasefire,” Ambassador Munir Akram told the General Assembly’s Fourth Committee, which deals with special political and decolonization issues.

UNRWA has lost more than 70 staff members as they served the besieged people of Gaza with bombs raining down indiscriminately on the ravaged enclave.

The Pakistani envoy called UNRWA workers “martyrs”, rejecting ” with contempt” the “wild” allegations earlier made by the Israeli delegate that the UN agency was providing shelter to the Hamas fighters in its facilities.

“We reject with utter contempt the wild allegations that were made here this afternoon by the representative of Israel against the UNRWA. This is adding spice to the crime; this is disguising the crime; and it must be rejected with the contempt it deserves.,” Ambassador Akram said in a debate on UNRWA.

Pakistan, he declared, will continue to support UNRWA until the Palestinian refugees are able to return to their homeland, once they establish an independent and viable contiguous state within the borders of pre-1967 June, with Al-Aqsa as its capital.

Despite the UN General Assembly’s overwhelming call for a sustained humanitarian ceasefire, Israel is continuing its brutal air strikes and ground invasion he said.

“Let us not disguise what we are witnessing,” Ambassador Akram said, adding that war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed with complete impunity, while those who prevented a ceasefire enabled the continued slaughter of innocent– a reference to Israel’s Western allies who opposed the 193-member body’s truce resolution.

“We will not forget. Some courageous people within the UN have said this (Israeli aggression) is genocide,” he said.

“Make no mistake, we will remember this genocide. Nine thousand were mercilessly killed in Gaza, and 22000 were injured, mostly 60% plus women and children. This is cowardly aggression,” the Pakistani envoy added.

“Pakistan will continue to provide whatever it can to support the Palestinians who are besieged. We are sending the supplies through Egypt, a friend, and we hope that we can bring some measure of relief.”

Once the dust is settled, Ambassador Akram suggested that the Secretary-General must honour the martyrs of UNRWA in the same manner that fallen UN peacekeepers are honoured, he said, calling for an unconditional ceasefire.

Further, he said, there must be a repository of the crimes committed in this war, because “the time will come when we ask for accountability”.

“We will raise this issue again and again until we have an answer.”

APP Services