The United Nations Office of Human Rights said in its fourth review on Tuesday that the human rights outlook in Pakistan is improving and country is doing more to protect the rights of its citizens.
Inside Pakistan, however, the UN’s report made headlines for the wrong reasons.
Somehow, focus shifted to the fact that Israel, a country Pakistan has no diplomatic relations with, criticised the state of human rights at the session.
Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN Adi Farjon said expressed her country’s ‘deep concern’ over the state of human rights in Pakistan during the session. She particularly criticised Pakistan for arbitrary arrests, enforcement of death penalty, blasphemy laws and policy on same-sex couples.
The statement lasted all of about 90 seconds.
However, it prompted a response from Pakistan’s Foreign Office which said that the UN periodic report had actually commended the country for doing a good job and had been unanimously adopted. It also called Israel’s statement politically motivated.
“Given Israel’s long history of oppression of Palestinians, Pakistan can certainly do without its advice on protecting human rights,” the statement said.
However, members of the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government went a step further and bizarrely linked Israel’s statement with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Climate Minister Sherry Rehman told reporters at a press conference that Israel had made the statement in support of the PTI.
She added that the statement had exposed the ‘unholy alliance’ between PTI and Israel.
“The supporting statement of Israel for the PTI from a platform such as the UN, has cleared who was against the May 9 [riots] and who benefited from these riots,” she said.
A day later, Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir criticised Israel for its treatment of Palestinians. Then he added that there were certain people who would support establishing ties with Israel in the National Assembly and had allowed travel to Israel as well.
Maulana Fazal ur Rehman also made a statement on the same lines. Uploading a 10-minute speech to Twitter, the PDM chief simply said he had now been proven right about the link between PTI and Israel.
He then added that there were political motivations in this fight and he would do whatever it takes to stop ‘Israel’s agents’ inside Pakistan.