A Pakistani delegation is in Israel for back-channel talks. The delegation’s visit comes months after the first trip of a group of Pakistani Americans to Israel.
According to the details in a news report by the Israeli media, the Pakistani delegation is comprised of nine members and is headed by Pakistani-American Nasim Ashra, a former minister of state in former prime minister Imran Khan’s government.
A journalist from a Karachi news station was also part of the delegation. Other members preferred to keep their identities secret.
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“The delegation conducted tours around Israel on the themes of geopolitics, history and religion, heritage, culture, and technology, with an emphasis on water technologies. Later this week, the delegation was notably due to meet Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem,” a news report by Israeli media said.
The news report noted that a senior official from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, is also currently on a secret visit to Israel.
The delegation, headed by a senior minister from the former government of Pakistan, comprised of nine members, including four who live in Pakistan and several other prominent Americans of Pakistani origin, as well as a British Pakistani imam.
– I24NEWS https://t.co/9XcrbAuFzm
— Fatma (@Fatma_Kh_) September 20, 2022
The goal of this delegation is to continue the peacemaking efforts and build positive understanding and help encourage Pakistan-Israel relations.
Pakistan and Israel normalizing ties?
The report is once again gaining traction in Pakistan. The last visit by a Pakistani delegation caused quite a controversy in Islamabad. Pertinent to mention that Pakistan does not recognize Israel as a state due to its atrocities against Palestine.
As a result, Pakistani netizens raised a lot of hue and cry. Some claimed that the PML-N government sent the delegation as it wants to normalize ties with Israel. Such claims came were based on the reports that a journalist from PTV (state media) too accompanied the delegation.
Read more: PTV anchor fired after he visited Israel
However, it was learned later that the Israel visiting delegation had American citizens of Pakistani origin. Therefore, it had nothing to do with the government of Pakistan.
Nevertheless, the reports of a second delegation visiting Israel are gaining criticism. PTI leader Shireen Mazari has demanded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs give a clarification on the matter.
“Is Nasim Ashraf, a Pakistani dual national, along with apparently a journalist from Karachi, going with approval of imported government as part of the US regime change agenda? Ministry of Foreign Affairs must clarify. Senate requisition needed to discuss this betrayal,” Shireen Mazari tweeted.
Is Nasim Ashraf a Pakistani dual national along with apparently a journalist from Karachi going with approval of Imported govt as part of US regime change agenda? Mofa must clarify @dswpti @EjazChaudhary Senate requisition needed to discuss this betrayal.https://t.co/5EN6QQ8sA3
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) September 20, 2022
Following Imran Khan’s ouster, PTI leaders have been very vocal about Imran Khan being a victim of US conspiracy. Moreover, under the PTI government, Pakistan took a very strong stance against Israel and condemned its blatant human rights violations in Palestine on numerous occasions.
On the other hand, PML-N has often been accused of adopting a comparatively softer stance toward Israel. There were also reports that PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif made contact with Israel during his time as prime minister. Israeli media has claimed that a Pakistani delegation twice visited Tel Aviv during the tenure of Nawaz Sharif.