Pakistan Now Considers Israel As A Bigger Enemy Than India
From the time of inception as a Country, Pakistan has opposed the idea of ties with Israel, despite it being the only other ideological state in the world apart from Pakistan itself.
The Pakistani Passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel. This means that a Pakistani citizen who is a Jewish or Christian cannot go on a pilgrimage to Israel. When David Ariel, a Pakistani citizen protested in Islamabad saying he wanted to travel to Israel on his Pakistani passport was arrested. Though for Sikhs, Pakistan last year opened the Kartarpur Corridor for pilgrimage.
The first leader to 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.
However 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 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. However now Arab States themselves are warming up to Israel and this will make Pakistan an outcaste or force it to change its policies.
Politicians and Mullahs in Pakistan both think that every country out there is conspiring against them. That’s why all ‘traitors’ and ‘agents’ are Jews and Hindus. Such is the paranoia that half of Pakistan still believes that Abhinandan Varthaman of IAF was actually an Israeli Pilot. 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 and create such confusion!!!
When 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 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.
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.
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, at least talked sense for once, when he 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 and India has been relegated to Second place ……a solid victory for Pakistan.