13 November 2020
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has signaled that the South Asian country is being pressured to recognize Israel. However, according to him, Pakistan had no plans to establish a relationship with the Jewish state.
In an interview with Pakistani television station on Thursday, Khan avoided asking whether Pakistan was being pressured by Muslim countries to forge ties with Israel.
“Leave this. There are things we cannot say. We have a good relationship with them,” Khan reportedly said.
Turkish Government Anadolu Agency reported that the question refers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have strong relationship with Pakistan. UAE was founded relations with Israel in September. Saudi Arabia hasn’t taken such a step, but it is open the air space to Israeli planes following the UAE-Israel deal and agreeing with Israel on issues related to Iran.
Khan reportedly said Pakistan would not recognize Israel without a Palestinian-approved solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I don’t think twice about recognizing Israel unless there is a fair settlement that satisfies the Palestinians,” he said.
Khan’s remarks were picked up by several Middle Eastern news outlets, including Iranian state media. That Palestine Information Center ran an article entitled, “Khan: friendly nations pressure Pakistan to recognize Israel.”
Pakistan is important to several Middle Eastern countries apart from those in the Gulf. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Islamabad this week and meet Khan.
Pakistan’s neighbor and major geo-strategic rival India has flourished close ties with Israel under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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