PTI chooses to remain tight-lipped over Israeli envoy's remarks

Mumtaz Alvi
Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN Adi Farjon speaks at a HRC meeting in Geneva. — Twitter/@IsraelinGeneva
Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN Adi Farjon speaks at a HRC meeting in Geneva. — Twitter/@IsraelinGeneva

  • Israeli diplomat voices concerns over rights situation in Pakistan. 
  • FO hits back at Adil Farjon's remarks at session of HRC in Geneva.
  • PTI spokesperson avoids answering questions when reached out.

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has preferred not to issue a statement over the shocking remarks of an Israeli envoy on Pakistan's internal affairs, despite sharp criticism from the coalition government of the matter, The News reported.

A rare diplomatic spat between Islamabad and Tel Aviv was triggered when Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN Adi Farjon voiced concerns over the rights situation in Pakistan during a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Farjon levelled allegations of enforced disappearances, torture, a crackdown on peaceful protests and violence against religious minorities in the South Asian country.

“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,” she said.

The Israel envoy called on Islamabad to “decriminalise same-sex activities” as provided by the international human rights standards and adopt a “comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation” in this regard.

Moreover, she claimed that the January amendments tightening the blasphemy laws were “often used to target and persecute religious and other minority groups” in the country.

Hitting back at the Israeli envoy, the Foreign Office said that the politically motivated statement was 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,” she added.

This correspondent reached out to PTI’s recently-appointed central Information Secretary and spokesperson, Raoof Hasan, on his mobile phone, while short questions were also sent to his WhatsApp number, but he did not respond to any of them.

Hasan was asked what his reaction or comment was on the Israeli representative’s statement on Pakistan’s internal matters, as there has been no reaction from the party so far.

PTI information secretary checked the message on WhatsApp but did not respond.

At this, he was again asked: “How does PTI see Israeli statement, which is rare and unique and an endorsement of what this party has been alleging”.

However, again, he avoided responding to the question.