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memri
September 6, 2019 No.
8264

Pakistani Writer Dr. Sughra Sadaf Urges Pakistan To Establish Diplomatic Ties With Israel, Says: 'The Thing To Remember Is That The Freedom Of Palestine Is Not Just The Problem Of Muslims'

Every year or so, some Pakistani citizens write urging their government to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. In February 2018, Pakistani student Mohsin Saleem Ullah wrote: "Pakistanis endorsing better relations [with Israel], put forward their stance that Israel can help the country, not only with computer science, agriculture, electronics, medicine, solar energy and more, but more importantly, with its international relations."[1]

On August 25, 2019, senior Pakistani journalist Kamran Khan kicked up the issue again, tweeting: "High time Pakistan counter nefarious Indian designs with bold foreign policy moves. Our deepest friends making fresh alignments. No permanent friends no enemies. Why can't we openly debate pros cons of opening direct and overt channels of communication with the State of Israel."[2]

There has always been recognition among Pakistani thinking classes that the country must establish diplomatic relations with Israel. However, each time the issue is raised in the media, the Pakistani government buckles under pressure from Islamic clerics and domestic public opinion.

In recent weeks, there is new speculation inside and outside Pakistan that Prime Minister Imran Khan might establish diplomatic relations. However, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when asked about this by a reporter, rejected the assertion that the country was planning to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.[3] Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal stated: "Our policy on Israel is very clear and there is no change to it."[4]

A day later – on August 30, 2019 – Dr. Sughra Sadaf, a freelance Pakistani writer, pressed ahead with this question in an op-ed, advocating the establishment of diplomatic ties between Pakistan and Israel.

Following are excerpts from her article:[5]

"If The Israel And Palestinian Conflict Is Made A Basis For Not Recognizing Each Other, Then One Should Know That Palestine Is More Supportive Of India Than Pakistan"

"[W]hen a country refuses to accept any [other] country, it announces its open enmity; [and] with it, it invites its attention against itself. The group which does not recognize remains in its pride, whereas the other group remains active every moment for its survival. This is the exact situation of Pakistan and Israel. There is no dispute between these two countries; neither [do] our borders meet, nor [does] any problem like Kashmir exist between the two...

"I still cannot understand that in this advanced age what reasons [would] make us not recognize Israel. If the Israel and Palestinian conflict is made a basis for not recognizing each other, then one should know that Palestine is more supportive of India than of Pakistan. Many times, Palestine, to show its support for India, has called back its ambassador from Pakistan. If this point is made the basis [for not recognizing Israel], then we should not accept India, because the oppression carried out in Kashmir is more extensive and cruel as compared to that in Palestine. India interferes in our internal affairs. It intrigues with neighboring countries against us. Innocent people die in [India-Pakistan] border clashes, but we strive for peace and maintaining good neighborhood.

"The thing to remember is that the freedom of Palestine is not just the problem of Muslims. Some of Yasser Arafat’s freedom fighters are Christians and they are still involved in the joint struggle for freedom. It is also a fact that Israel has not occupied Palestine but purchased land from Palestine and established them. Thus, it is the mistake of the Palestinians that they have created such opportunities. There are many common things between the Israeli and Muslims related to religious, history and belief. For example, both have Books, and each can intermarry with the other without conversion to the other religion.

"The mention of the children of Israel is the highest in the Koran. Judaism, like Islam, is a divine religion. Most prophets came to the children of Israel. Many prophets are buried near the Masjid Aqsa [in Jerusalem]. Muslims and Jews share a common great-grandfather. Muslims send blessings to Abraham in every worship, but in practical terms behave differently. Similarly, the beliefs in both divinity and [the practice of ritual] slaughter are also shared. Having seen so many commonalities, I don't find any reason for not recognizing Israel."

"Israel Has Very Friendly Relations With Other Arab And Islamic Countries, Including Saudi Arabia – But Pakistan Has A Problem"

"Islam teaches a lesson for reforming. It teaches us to change with the variations of a changing era. The Koranic verses need to be understood in a broader context. Islam does not believe in restriction and cutting away from the era. In the context of time-related matters, the revealed verses should be taken in that context only, because today it is not Jewish and Christian, but different sects of Muslims who are engaged in a fight with each other and who give fatwas [Islamic decrees, declaring] each other to be infidels.

"Israel has very friendly relations with other Arab and Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia. But Pakistan has a problem. At present, the majority of invention in the world emanates from the Jewish nation, and we utilize it with full pleasure. From our mosques to Bait Allah [the Kaaba in Mecca], there is light due to their invention. If we cannot recognize Israel out of fear of [anti-government] fatwas [by Pakistani clerics] and slogans, then we must also remove Israel from our home. We have to dismantle our rides, declare rebellion against social media, and even abandon every item on which there is a mark of its struggle.

"There is a need to increase [Pakistan's] diplomatic relations in the world's global image. The present government has taken many brave steps; it should recognize Israel and start its journey of peace with the powerful countries of the world. The opposition and religious parties should not play politics, because the matter is not one of religion. If it were, then all Islamic countries would have stood by us. But not even our neighbors are with us. To come out from solitarily and attain economic sustainability we have to take tough decisions.

"There may be many problems with Israel; we may have ideological, political and other differences. But is the rest of the world bathed in milk? Are we in 100% ideological harmony with those we have approved? It's about [time] to think. I want to visit that Holy Land, where so long ago the great and glorious prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walked. I want to breathe that air which still maintains spiritual advancement. I want to imagine I am part of the scene where the magic is attractive, and I want to sit below the Wailing Wall and weep a lot. After all, why should not I be allowed to go to the burial [places in Israel] of the prophets mentioned in the Koran, and commune with my Holy Prophet [Muhammad]?"

 

[1] Daily Times (Pakistan), February 2, 2018.

[2] Twitter.com/ AajKamranKhan, August 25, 2019.

[3] ArabNews.com, August 29, 2019.

[4] ArabNews.com, August 29, 2019.

[5] Daily Times (Pakistan), August 30, 2019. The original English of this article has been lightly edited for clarity and standardization.