Pakistan President Arif Alvi sparks controversy by proposing a 'one-state solution' to Palestine problem

The Presidency later retracted the press release and issued a new one, which omitted any mention of the controversial proposal.

November 22, 2023 01:43 pm | Updated 06:17 pm IST - Islamabad

Pakistan President Arif Alvi. File

Pakistan President Arif Alvi. File | Photo Credit: AP

Pakistan President Arif Alvi has stirred a controversy by proposing a “one-state solution” to the Palestine problem in a significant departure from established policy, prompting the caretaker government to distance itself from the remarks and calls for his resignation.

The Presidential office made waves by advocating for a "one-state solution" to the Palestine issue. However, Mr. Alvi's office retracted the statement within a few hours, marking an abrupt about-face in the official position.

The Presidency initially released a statement attributing to President Alvi the suggestion of a "one-state solution" during a telephonic conversation with Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas.

“If the two-state solution was not acceptable to Israel, then the one-state solution was the only way where Jews, Muslims and [a] good percentage of Christians could live to exercise equal political rights,” the original press release quoted Mr. Alvi as telling the Palestinian President.

Almost all news TV channels ran the President’s statement, which was also released by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan.

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The Presidency later retracted the press release and issued a new one, which omitted any mention of the controversial proposal.

Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani on Tuesday termed President Arif Alvi’s proposal of a “one-state solution” to the Palestine problem as not being in line with the country’s principled and historic stance on the issue.

He was speaking on the floor of the Senate when Pakistan Peoples Party senator Raza Rabbani asked for an explanation from him over the controversial press release.

The Foreign Minister said the Presidency had not sought input from his Ministry before issuing the press release, adding that he was not aware of the context in which the President had suggested the “one-state solution”.

Mr. Jilani said that soon after the release of the President’s statement, his Ministry had to issue a clarification, stating Pakistan’s official position on the Palestine issue.

That clarification, he said, was sent to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Secretariat and other organisations concerned, including UN bodies.

Mr. Jilani said that Pakistan had always suggested a “two-state solution” to the Palestinian problem based on the border of 1967 and in line with the UN Resolution No 242.

Taking the floor after the completion of the agenda, Senator Raza Rabbani said: "A contradiction was issued [after the press release]… but I demand the resignation of the President over his statement." He also asked the Foreign Minister to inform the House as to “what counter-measures has the government taken to overcome this disastrous statement that was issued by the President?”

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