Is Islamabad ready to establish diplomatic ties with Jerusalem?


Replying to the question of a possibility of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Israel, analysts say – with the Arab world opening up to the Jewish State, “shock waves are being felt deeply around the Muslim world, especially in Pakistan” – radical Islamic groups and individuals in that country are once again trying to push forward their “Palestine agenda” while others say, this relation is not possible even in the distant future because of Pakistan’s “mismanagement of its foreign policy regarding the issue”.

Commenting on this matter, Hussain Nadim, a policy specialist working in the national security and foreign policy domain in Pakistan, who was previously a senior Pakistan expert at the United States Institute of Peace and the Wilson Center in Washington DC wrote in the Jerusalem Post:

Pakistan’s policy on the Arab-Israel conflict is a product of the late 1940s and early ‘50s when the country was trying to establish itself as an eastern fortress of the Islamic world to mobilize Muslim support against India. This required solidarity with the Arab states that were foremost parties to a conflict with Israel.

The hope in Pakistan was that the Islamic world would reciprocate Pakistan’s support over the Palestine issue by supporting Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir against India. This, however, never happened because, for the Arab world, Palestine was an Arab-Israel conflict not a Muslim-Jewish one, and Kashmir was a Pakistan-India conflict not a Hindu-Muslim one.

It is this fundamental difference in the approach toward the conflict that Pakistan has become for the last few decades a prisoner to its own policy. While the Arab-Israel conflict after the 1967 Six Day War and 1973 Yom Kippur War got reduced to the Israel-Palestine conflict with Arab partners opening up to Israel, Pakistan’s foreign policy never really changed, despite the context around it having been entirely transformed. Some 72 years on, Pakistan’s policy on the Israel-Palestine conflict is dictated neither by principles nor by interests. It is dictated by inertia.

A key reason for this inertia is how Pakistan sold the entire Palestine issue domestically through a deeply religious sentiment, backing it up with out-of-context Koranic verses framing it only a Jewish vs. Muslim problem rather than a territorial and human-rights problem.

Not only did this end up creating an unknown enemy out of the Jewish people, it also gave rise to conspiracies of all sorts inside the country that helped the ruling elite sway  public opinion in whichever direction it benefited their politics. For instance, when the current Prime Minister Imran Khan launched his political career in 1995, he was targeted for being a “Jewish agent” by the ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s right-wing political party, which saw him as a political threat.

Anti-Israel propaganda in the Muslim nations

For decades, anti-Israel propaganda has been at the forefront, which has been mostly patronized by Iran in particular as well as few Arab nations, including Qatar. Following the Islamist takeover of Iran, the Khomeini regime has aggressively pushed forward its agenda of demonizing Israel while poisoning the minds of the Muslim populace with well-orchestrated propaganda against the Jewish State thus projecting it as an “enemy of Muslims” while Tehran also did not hesitate in projecting Jews as “enemies of Allah”.

The majority of the media outlets in the Muslim world – both Arab and non-Arab have not abandoned their habit of demonizing Israel and the Jews – which is a result of its blind support for the Palestinian people. Such a degree of blindness and even madness is so much deep-rooted that none of the Muslim press even is willing to condemn the notoriety and terrorist agendas of mega-terror outfit Hamas or even organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah.

Iran has been pursuing its anti-Israel agenda mostly by aligning with Islamist political forces in the Muslim nations. As a result, the majority of the people in the Muslim countries are seriously brainwashed with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish notions.

A few days ago, there was a media report on Pakistan’s decision on establishing relations with Israel, where its Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was quoted saying: “I categorically presented Pakistan’s stance on Israel to the UAE’s foreign minister that we will not and cannot establish a relationship with Israel until a concrete and permanent solution to the Palestine issue is found”.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan made headlines last month when he revealed that Islamabad had been under pressure from some friendly nations to recognize Israel.

Despite pessimism about the possibility of establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Israel, there is a report in the media stating Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has recently released rules and regulations for citizens of seven countries for visiting the country, and the list contained names of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Israel, Nigeria, Palestine, and Somalia.

On its website, the FIA explained rules and regulations for Israeli citizens visiting Pakistan. They were required to register themselves with the police and seek a stay permit from the district police officer (DPO) of the concerned district. But later FIA was asked to delete the name of Israel from the list to avoid public reaction.

Analysts believe, for the sake of normalizing relations between Israel and the rest of the Muslim nations, there should be an immediate measure for putting an end to the Iran-sponsored propaganda against the Jewish State as well as the media’s anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias.


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