Senator Mushahid Hussain, Leader of Pakistan Parliamentary delegation to the annual conference of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) has forcefully condemned Israeli crimes against humanity against the Palestinians and accused its Western supporters of ‘hypocrisy and double standards’. He was addressing the general assembly of the IPU, where he urged legislation to counter Islamophobia as it was divisive, racist and bred violence against Muslims.
The IPU comprises 170 member parliaments, in which Pakistan has an active role as elected member of the Executive Council, The Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians and the Committee on Peace and Democracy.
During the IPU conference, Senator Mushahid Hussain was invited to address the General Assembly thrice, while he also addressed the Islamic and Asia-Pacific regional group meetings as well as invited for an address to the Socialist International group.
In his speech, Senator Mushahid Hussain made three fundamental points. First, that Palestinian resistance to Illegal Israeli occupation was justified under international law and the UN Charter, as it is a natural reaction to 56 years of occupation and brutal Israeli practices, including killings of innocent
Palestinian children, women and men, with 560 checkpoints in occupied West Bank. Second, Western hypocrisy and double standards, particularly from the United States, were complicit in Israeli crimes, as they even oppose a ceasefire in Gaza since they want Israel to continue the carnage which has led to bombings of 19 Hospitals, including Al Ahli Hospital where 500 children were killed, and 25% of houses in Gaza are destroyed and 600,000 Palestinians homeless. Third, Senator Mushahid Hussain said Israel always termed the Palestinians as ‘ terrorists’, whether it was Yasser Arafat or Hamas, recalling that Hamas as a political organisation had won what former US President Jimmy Carter termed ‘as the most free elections in the Middle East’ in 2007.
He said Pakistan demands an end to the Gaza Genocide, an end to the 16 year old blockade of Gaza, an end to Israeli occupation, an end to desecration of Muslim holy places and establishing a free Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Speaking on Islamophobia, Senator Mushahid Hussain termed this as a big threat to interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence in diverse societies as it stems from hate, bigotry and racism, often leading to violence against Muslims living in the West. He said because of Islamophobia, core beliefs of Muslims including the sanctity of the personality of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was attacked plus desecration of the Holy Quran, which are unacceptable for Muslims, so necessary legislation is required in the West to combat Islamophobia.
Senator Mushahid Hussain was specially invited by IPU to give a presentation about the Senate of Pakistan and it’s working, especially in promoting SDG goals of the United Nations, where he talked of the need to make Parliaments more inclusive, transparent and responsive to popular aspirations. He termed Parliament as the indispensable pivot and pillar of democracy, and its role should be as the voice of the voiceless, and the principle of ‘conflict of interest’ should be upheld.
In his speech to the Socialist International, Senator Mushahid Hussain urged the Socialist International to oppose militarism and the new Cold War, reject the expansion of NATO to Asia, and promote pro-poor policies given the failure of the Western capitalist model. He also lauded China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) as the way forward for connectivity and cooperation in the 21st Century, which was witnessing Asian and African Resurgence and the recent Belt and Road Forum, which he attended, had 4,000 participants from over 140 countries.
Senator Mushahid Hussain also highlighted Pakistan’s relations with Africa and how Pakistan had been in the forefront of supporting African liberation struggles in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Namibia
Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.
The Pakistan Parliamentary Delegation includes Senators Shahzad Waseem (Leader of the Opposition), Senator Sadia Khaqan Abbasi and Senator Attaur Rahman, assisted by Secretary Senate Mohammad Qasim Samad Khan,Section Officer Senate of Pakistan Hassan Dar and Pakistan Ambassador to Zimbabwe Murad Baseer.