Pakistan’s foreign office rejects “baseless speculation”, saying it “steadfastly” supports Palestinian self-determination.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s foreign ministry has reiterated that the country is not considering recognizing the state of Israel, in line with existing policies, according to a statement, even as Arab allies have moved to do so.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri “emphatically rejects baseless speculation about the possible recognition of the State of Israel by Pakistan”.
“Pakistan firmly supports the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” said the statement, which was in line with the country’s position in the conflict.
“For a just and lasting peace, it is imperative to have a two-state solution in accordance with the relevant United Nations and OIC resolutions, with borders before 1967, and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the capital of a viable and independent state. and the neighboring State of Palestine. “
Questions have been raised about whether Pakistan will join forces with Arab allies, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which moved to normalize relations with Israel in September. The first Bahraini delegation visited Israel last week.
On Monday, Israeli media reported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly traveled to Saudi Arabia the day before for talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The Saudi foreign minister, however, denied the report and Netanyahu’s office did not comment on it.
Since September, the administration of US President Donald Trump has brokered deals with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan to normalize their relations with Israel.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict
Earlier this month, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared to confirm there was pressure on Pakistan to also sign such an agreement.
“There are some things we can’t say because we have a good relationship [countries] and we don’t want to disappoint them, ”Khan said in an interview with local media, responding to a question whether Pakistan faced such pressure. “God willing, let our country stand on its own two feet and then you can ask me such a question.”
Khan also reiterated Pakistan’s stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the interview, saying nothing had changed.
“For me, nobody thinks twice about this,” he said. “We cannot accept Israel because of that […] until the Palestinians are not given a fair settlement, as in the settlement they received, we cannot accept [Israel]. “
Analysts say there is external pressure on Pakistan to recognize Israel, but there has also been internal debate on the issue for more than 10 years.
“There may be some suggestions from other countries for Pakistan to recognize Israel, but there is also an ongoing internal debate on this question for a very long time within the Pakistani government, that Pakistan should have a relationship with Israel,” said Zahid Hussain, an analyst and senior journalist.
Hussain argues that while Pakistan may not fully recognize Israeli statehood, it may move to normalize relations in other ways. He said Pakistan’s military – which directly ruled the country for about half of its 73-year history and continued to hold sway over most foreign and domestic policy – had a role to play in this issue.
“The military is very interested in that – that kind of relationship, don’t have to admit it, but there is a feeling that the Israeli lobby in the United States is very strong, and it might also help neutralize Israeli-Indian cooperation. . “
However, Hussain said there was “no question” about Pakistan officially recognizing Israel at this time, although if regional ally Saudi Arabia did so, it “might give Pakistan a boost”.
Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweeted @Fun