File photo | Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa | Facebook/ImranKhanOfficial
File photo | Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa | Facebook/ImranKhanOfficial
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Prompted by last week’s historic deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalise relations, it is that time of the year again when a discussion in Pakistan begins, rather discretely: Do we accept Israel, or not? And like all the other times, this too shall pass, or not.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has stated that no matter what other countries do, Pakistan will never recognise Israel until “Palestinians are given their right of a just settlement”. If Pakistan accepts Israel, it will have to give up Kashmir as well, because the same situation applies there. Khan’s statement came after a carefully drafted response from the Pakistan Foreign Office that the UAE-Israel deal “is a development with far-reaching implications”. Neither condemning nor commending, staying clear of creating troubles for itself with the Gulf state, while still recovering from the diplomatic fiasco with Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan, for decades, has ideologically aligned itself with the Gulf and the Arab world. So, will their warming up to Israel now make Pakistan reconsider its politics?


Also read: Bajwa may be trying to smooth things with Saudis, but Imran Khan dreams of Neo-Ottoman world


The star of conspiracy

After Partition, Pakistan solemnly opposed the idea of ties with Israel, despite it being the only other ideological state in the world apart from Pakistan.

For a state that Pakistan refuses to recognise, we certainly worry about Israel a bit much, and also think that it worries about us. But of course, Pakistan is the centre of the universe, and every country out there is conspiring against us. That’s why most ‘traitors’ and ‘agents’ are coloured Yahoodi (Jew) and all ‘lobbies’ working against Pakistan are Jewish. A close second winner is the Hanood (Hindu) with their R&AW agents.

Those who advocate acceptance of Israel by Pakistan often point to India and Israel’s friendly relations. To keep India’s ‘nefarious‘ designs in check and to counter it, this could be a good way forward. Such is the paranoia that half of Pakistan still believes that our country arrested an Israeli pilot on the day Abhinandan Varthaman fell in Pakistan. While the other half believes that Israeli pilots led the Indian airstrike on Balakot. One can always blame India for using Israeli bombs in Balakot, hence the confusion.

This just goes to show anything and everything Israeli is a ‘Zionist’ conspiracy. Naya Pakistan has witnessed a couple of them. A member of parliament from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) suggested ties with Israel, urging Muslims and Jews to come to a peaceful settlement. This rang alarm bells that the PTI is working on a “Jewish agenda”. Then there was the curious case of an Israeli plane landing in Rawalpindi in 2018, while Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was on a visit to Oman, but the Pakistan government continued to deny it. Then Pakistan’s Immigration and Passports Office listed Israel among countries whose citizens were allowed to visit Pakistan, but later clarified it was a mistake.

The passport of Pakistan says: “This passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel.” So, if Jewish or Christian Pakistanis want to go for a pilgrimage to Israel, what should they do? Perhaps, Navjot Singh Sidhu can help find a way to lead them to Jerusalem given his magical hug with army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa opened up the Kartarpur corridor. Or else, they could get arrested like David Ariel, a Pakistani citizen who protested in Islamabad saying he wanted to travel to Israel on his Pakistani passport.


Also read: India is good in the Arab world now. But Delhi must quickly move to contain Turkey’s Erdogan


Who cares what Pakistanis think

The first leader to openly challenge the status quo was military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf, who said that if the Palestinians and Israelis reach a peace deal, then why should Pakistan not recognise the country? In 2005, in Ankara, the foreign ministers of Israel and Pakistan held the first-ever officially acknowledged meeting, which was met with much condemnation by religious groups back home. Understandably so, because the anti-Israel sentiment has been good for rabble-rousing.

The notion that public sentiment is against any association with Israel is as accurate as the notion that Pakistanis’ emotions don’t matter when their vote is stolen. But to think that the common Pakistani has a say in foreign policy is laughable. If the winds have to change, they will change, and the jazbaat of the people will be the last thing anyone would worry about.

Before recognising Israel, it will be good for Pakistan to recognise itself. And decide what it actually wants as a State. Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that international relations are above religious sentiments — a thought hardly adhered to by anyone in Pakistan. For now, Israel is Pakistan’s enemy number one until Palestine is freed. This gives us a break from India for a while.

The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.

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40 Comments Share Your Views

40 COMMENTS

  1. Pakistani rulers, semi-Civilians and dictators, are in the habit of creating an imaginary enemy to divert public attention and their corruption. If Pakistanis are so much against Israel, and hate any country, who is friend of Israel, why it is always cozy with US, who is the creator and sustainer of Israel.

    • Pakistan goes overboard about leading an Islamic Jihad against India with regard to the Muslims of Kashmir Valley.

      But no one in Pakistan even dares to discuss / raise the issue of Chinese atrocities / genocide of Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province .

  2. Pakistan is the land of terrorist..just like like their leaders..they always say islam is peace..but never doing it and they always provoked conflicts and war..islam is good but muslims are not..they claim that all muslim are going to paradise..yes paradise of satan..i agree

  3. “a Pakistani citizen who protested in Islamabad saying he wanted to travel to Israel on his Pakistani passport”.
    What about plastine thousands of peoples protesting against israel for freedom everyday??? there is no importance of plastine’s protesting ???

    • Well either she is paid to write such crap or she is not living in Pakistan it’s like if some one living in India and says I love Pakistan or we don’t want temple instead of babri mosque so writer is not connected with common people of Pakistan who don’t like india or for that matter iseral as they are enemies of Muslims they are both a terrorist states so she can write whatever she wants it does not matter at all for a common folk in Pakistan because her views are far from reality

  4. There are many concrete facts that have been ignored in this propagating debate. For instance Pakistan has had no wars with Israel. Both the states have never even been on the verge of an all-out war. The states have never even had a conflict that could’ve led to war. Pakistan’s nuclear program is solely for the safety and security of the nation against any external threat. The program is not for the state to pick and choose enemies and start non-existing conflicts. That is definitely not how Pakistan intends to use its resources and deviate from the real agenda which is to protect the state of Pakistan.

  5. It is an ultimate , desire of most the people , in India & Pakistan for, the normalisation of relations with each other .
    Which can bring peace & prosperity . Finally a much peaceful , South Asia for whole the world.

    • Bullshit bhai.Pakistan has always started war with India not other way round.Terrorism is ingrained in Pakistani mind.Allah hu akbar cry is Pakistani not India.

  6. Good bottom line: Pakistan should recognize itself before it recognizes anybody else. Whether Yahoodi or Hanoodi, OR Mussalman: (I wonder Paki Sultans like Bajwa are thinking when chaps like Imran are shooting their motuhs of.

  7. Who give a shit about the stupids Pakistanis and Pakistan. In the last confrontation with india they were like dogs running and hiding.

    • Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has returned empty-handed from Saudi Arabia.
      The Pakistan general had flown to Riyadh on Sunday along with ISI chief General Faiz Hameed. They wanted to smoothen the straining Pak-Saudi ties and secure Pakistan’s place in the Islamic brotherhood club.

      Pakistan is currently observing its deepening divorce from the Islamic world as it is on its way to becoming the new Palestine.
      There was a time when Palestine was once a rallying point for the Arabs, now it is a watered-down cause. The region gets support, but only moral these days and with the UAE-Israel deal, the prospect of a Palestinian state looks distant.
      Pakistan too has become a state-supported by foreign loans, but material support is shrinking.
      The Saudis are asking Islamabad for loan repayment and the second installment of $1 billion is due this month.
      Pakistan has dispatched foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to China to ask for money. They say the visit is to lay the groundwork of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan later. For Pakistan, the writing is on the wall with its so-called Arab brothers social distancing themselves and their support is now symbolic, not substantive.
      Pakistan can also forget about Kashmir as the Saudis or the Emiratis will not move any resolutions against India. Pakistan could not even secure a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and its relationship with the UAE is hardly better.
      However, the duo got a royal snub and a load of embarrassment.

    • Yup and you were born in a royal family, grew up in amazingly poor India and to top it all of you’d take a shit on train tracks just like billions other living in India.

      • Lol….80% states in India hv ODF certified…if your low IQ paki brain don’t know what is ODF, that’s open defection free certificate..Educate ur self paki

  8. Why not to recognise Israel ? If the palisitinian people & Israel settle , their conflicts . It is a good initiative for peace and prosperity in middle East . Conflict amongst Muslims & Jews be finished now .Because world is to handle , many problems like ; weather change effects , different types of diseases and many more natural and artificial hazards.

  9. Pakistan’s stance is that India should give right of self determination to Kashmiris and Israel should withdraw from occupied territories and let Palestinians to leave with peace. I think not enmity but a bold stance for Muslim Umma

  10. Absolutely right, who cares about what the Pakistani people think. Who cares about what you think.

    India remains first, israel is not even in the picture. Take a deep breathe and a good break. And yes, since your “jazbat” for israel does not matter therefore, also keep your jazbat to your ownself.

  11. This will be like another “Kashmir is ours” issue for Pakistan. They will go on deluding themselves, just as they do about Kashmir, that Israel does not exist until Palestinians are given rights of settlement. And, no one else will care.

  12. Pakistan recognizes Israel or not it is dependent on Pakistani establishment, same like in India babri masjid was demolished while muslims opposed it, modi was banned in America because he killed thousands of muslims in one night but later he was welcomed and embarrassed because it was intrests of America. Champions of human rights and democracy are killer of what they preach. There is voices in India modi stole the votes it happened because it was in the interests of Indian establishment. Every country makes their foriegn policy how it suits them. Don’t worry about Pakistan, Pakistan is in good hands.

  13. The international Jew, as already defined, rules not because he is rich, but because in a most marked degree he possesses the commercial and masterful genius of his race, and avails himself of a racial loyalty and solidarity the like of which exists in no other human group. In other words, transfer today the world-control of the international Jew to the hands of the highest commercially talented group of Gentiles, and the whole fabric of world-control would eventually fall to pieces, because the Gentile lacks a certain quality, be it human or divine, be it natural or acquired, that the Jew possesses. HENRY FORD

  14. Naila Inayat has become very boring by her predictable writings, always criticizing Imran khan. Wish she becomes more objective and balanced in her writings.

  15. Sixty-five years ago, in 1955, a juvenile Pakistan joined the Baghdad Pact. It included Iran, Iraq, Turkey and the United Kingdom. According to the historian S.M. Burke (citing a Dawn report): “When Pakistan joined the Baghdad pact, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Pakistan took the unusual step of issuing a press handout containing the text of a Radio Mecca broadcast, urging Pakistan to drop her membership of the pact and ‘to return to the right path’. The broadcast called Pakistan’s act ‘a stab in the heart of the Arab and Muslim states’ and said it had caused surprise and astonishment that Pakistan, who had always been proud of her Islamic faith and declared her respect for all Arabs and Muslims, should have joined Turkey, who ‘feels honoured by co-operating with the Jewish state’.”
    Time has a longer memory than malleable ministers and supple statesmen. DAWN 20/8/2020

  16. Weak minds produce weak literature. You can’t even realise that Saudi Arab followed Pakistan’s decision conveyed by Bajwa. Total rubbish for poor and ill informed Indians

  17. I think relations with Israel is in the interest of Pakistan – it may help normalize relations with India and lead to a possible
    solution of Kashmir.

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