ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday rejected the assertion that the country was planning to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, adding it strongly supported the demand for an independent Palestinian state and its policy remained unchanged in that regard.
Responding to a question by Arab News on the subject during the weekly press briefing, Foreign Office Spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal said: “Our policy on Israel is very clear and there is no change to it.”
A debate about establishing diplomatic ties with Israel was recently triggered on social media and the country’s political circles when a senior Pakistani journalist, Kamran Khan, suggested in a Twitter post on August 25 that Pakistan was openly debating the pros and cons of “opening direct and overt channels of communication with the State of Israel.”
This prompted a reaction both from the public as well as members of the country’s main political parties who slammed the suggestion, pointing out that any communication with the Jewish state would have implications for Pakistan’s ongoing struggle to highlight human rights abuses by Indian security forces in the disputed Kashmir region where over eight million people have been living under a security lockdown since August 5.
Pakistan does not recognize the state of Israel and has repeatedly called for an independent Palestinian state based on “internationally agreed parameters” and the pre-1967 borders with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. The foreign office spokesman suggested this was the only acceptable solution which would “guarantee sustainable peace in West Asia.”
As an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) coordinator on the issue, Islamabad tables five resolutions on Palestine every year. These pertain to: human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem; Palestinian right to self-determination; Israeli settlements in Palestine and in the occupied Syrian Golan; human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan; and accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions.
In May this year, Pakistan highlighted “Israeli aggression” in Palestine at the OIC summit in Makkah, chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz, during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.