Pakistani-American delegation visits Israel

Anila Ali with Isaac Herzog. Pic: Sharaka

A group of Pakistani Americans has visited Israel and met with the president in a visit sponsored by a pro-Israel civil society group.

Sharaka, which works to connect Israel with Gulf countries, sponsored the visit to promote Israeli-Pakistani relations.

In a tweet, Sharaka said it was “honoured to bring a delegation of Muslims and Sikhs from southeast Asia including the first Pakistani Jew allowed to travel to Israel to visit Israeli President Isaac Herzog. The delegates spoke to the President about their efforts to develop relationships with Israel.”

The Pakistani delegation was headed by a Pakistani-American lobbyist in the U.S., Aneela Ali. It comprised Pakistanis such as Ahmed Quraishi who is an employee of state TV channel PTV, as well as Muslims from other countries.

The Pakistani-American delegation in Israel. Pic: Sharaka

Meetings between civil society figures from various countries and Israeli delegations could be a precursor to more formal relationships between nations at a future date.

The former Minister of Human Rights, Dr. Shireen Mazari, tweeted in Urdu: “I am not astonished to see Ahmad Qureshi in Israel because he is not only working for PTV but also but also has contacts with sensitive departments. He is promoting pro-Israeli agenda for more than one year while criticizing independent foreign policy of Imran Khan (the former Prime Minister). This shows that this is a different government (of Mian Shehbaz Sharif who replaced Imran Khan after a controversial vote of no confidence apparently maneuvered by the United States).”

Previous PM Imran Khan has repeatedly said that his government was ousted by the United States for his independent foreign policy. He also said that India and Israel were very happy over his ouster.

Khan repeatedly said that Pakistan would not recognise Israel but in a press interview In November 2020 he revealed he had been under pressure from some “friendly” countries to establish diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv.

Although he did not name them despite being asked repeatedly whether the pressure is from Muslim or non-Muslim countries, many believe he indirectly pointed to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “Leave this [question]. There are things we cannot say. We have good relations with them,” Khan said.

Current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has yet to comment on that matter.

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