Pakistan Strongly Condemns deliberate attacks on holy sites in Syria.

Pakistan today strongly condemned the deliberate attacks on holy sites, including the recent attack on Syeda Bibi Zainab’s Shrine in Damascus. “The trend of desecration of holy places hurts sentiments of Muslims all over the world and incites sectarian hatred”, Permanent Representative Masood Khan said at the Informal Meeting of the UN General Assembly with the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

Pakistani envoy thanked the Chair of the Independent Commission of Inquiry, Mr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, for his briefing and agreed with the Commission's conclusions that there are grave human costs of the political impasse in the international community's response to the war in Syria.

Ambassador Khan said that the conflict in Syria has reached new levels of cruelty and brutality. The systematic imposition of sieges, the use of chemical weapons, and forcible displacement have inflicted pain and suffering on the people of Syria and all this is happening under the glare of the international spotlight, he added.

Pakistan appealed to those states who are supplying arms to combatants in Syria or contemplating to do so to seriously re-consider their decisions. Peace would be made when combatants will lay down arms; not when they multiply them.

Pakistan also appealed to the United States and Russia to take their agreement on the Geneva II Conference to its logical conclusion and persuade all parties to send their empowered interlocutors to Geneva.

He said that Pakistan cares for the people of Syria and despite their current catastrophic experiences, believes in the genius and will of the Syrian people to shape and resolve their differences.

In the meantime, Ambassador Khan said, all parties must respect human rights as an armed conflict does not give the parties a license to kill and a license to flout international humanitarian law. Accountability must therefore be enforced across the board, he added.

United Nations, New York, 29,July,2013