Pak condemns `brazen use` of force by Israel against flotilla
Last Updated: Monday, May 31, 2010, 18:37
Islamabad: The Pakistan government on Monday condemned the "brazen use" of force by Israel against a flotilla carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists and humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip, describing it as a violation of international law and norms.

"The killing of members of this humanitarian mission, which also included women, is brutal, inhuman and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and norms," said a statement issued by the Foreign Office hours after Israeli troops intercepted the flotilla, killing over a dozen people.

The Pakistan government also expressed serious concern over the well-being and whereabouts of Pakistani citizens and media personnel who were on board the flotilla bound for Gaza.

The foreign ministry is in touch with Pakistani missions in the region to ascertain the well-being of the Pakistani nationals.

Well-known TV anchor Talat Hussain, his producer Raza Mahmood Agha and Nadeem Ahmed, a representative of a Pakistani NGO, were with the flotilla. Their current whereabouts are not known, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani too strongly condemned the attack by Israeli Defence Forces on the peaceful flotilla that resulted in the "killing of members of this humanitarian mission".

Gilani said, "Pakistan expects the international community to take cognisance of this brutal act and ensure the safety and security of persons, including Pakistani nationals, who were on this humanitarian mission."

Israel's Channel 10 reported that 19 activists were killed and 26 wounded when the troops stormed the six-vessel flotilla packed with hundreds of international activists, food and other humanitarian supplies.

The flotilla had left Cyprus on Sunday in an attempt to break Israel's longstanding blockade of the Gaza Strip.

"Israel expresses sorrow for those killed in the takeover," the Israeli cabinet said in a statement.

Israel says the blockade of Gaza, which is controlled by the armed Palestinian group Hamas, is needed to combat terrorism.

In his last contact with his Aaj News channel at 6 am, TV anchor Talat Hussain said he could see Israeli troops approaching.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said the world community cannot ignore this incident.

There is a need to build public opinion to condemn the incident and to stop Israelis from taking any more steps that result in death of innocent civilians, he said.

Such unprovoked and unwarranted use of force had "no moral and legal justification", he said.

Pakistan would take up the matter with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Arab League, United Nations and the US, Qureshi said.


First Published: Monday, May 31, 2010, 18:37

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