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December 28, 2020

Call to handle Israel recognition issue in line with popular opinion, sentiments

National

December 28, 2020

Islamabad: Foreign policy experts were of the unanimous opinion during a discussion here on Sunday that the government should handle the delicate issue of Israel’s recognition in line with the popular opinion and sentiments in the country and through parliamentary debates as any move against national ideology and policy environment would cause chaos.

They declared the debate initiated on the issue in the policy arena by ‘vested interests’ untimely and counterproductive and said it didn't present any vision and proactive plan to benefit from such a major foreign policy shift.

According to them, the country won’t gain anything by establishing diplomatic ties with Israel in material terms in the security or economic arena and rather, such a step would mean the casualty of the national ideology, the real binding force of the Islamic republic. The event titled 'UAE’s recognition of Israel and its implications for the Middle East and Pakistan' was held at the Institute of Policy Studies here.

IPS Executive President Khalid Rahman chaired it, while the panellists included former ambassadors Javed Hafeez and Tajammul Altaf, senior IPS associate Brigadier (r) Tughral Yamin, associate dean of the Centre for International Peace and Stability Studies-National University of Science and Technology (CIPS-NUST) and IPS fellow Brigadier (r) Said Nazir Mohmand, senior IPS associate Naufil Shahrukh and other members of the institute’s research faculty.

Speaking from a diplomatic viewpoint, the experts underscored that while it was important to carve paths of pragmatism from within the underlying grey areas of diplomacy and foreign policy, it was also imperative that no step was taken at the cost of the country’s identity, sovereignty or fundamental ideology. Likewise, it should also be made sure that no compromises were being made out of any fear, threat, or greed. The panellists also pointed out that unfortunately, it was this argument of pragmatism that was being used on many occasion to get important decisions made without bringing them into public debate, and a similar attempt was being made in the case of Israel's’ recognition issue as well, as it was very easy to anticipate that any such discussion in the public domain was less likely to garner much support.

They emphasised that the real issue Pakistan faced was not its economic debt but extreme mismanagement of economic resources that was caused by poor governance.

According to the experts, like Pakistan, Israel, too, is under considerable debt itself but it is rather its efficient utilisation of loans that is turning out to be the deciding factor in making its borrowed money beneficial instead of a burden. Also, if the economic weakness is being deemed as the major reason behind the recognition of Israel, then why rich and self-reliant Muslim countries like UAE have chosen to walk that path.

Over the argument of security and intelligence sharing between Pakistan and Israel, the panellists wondered with whom such kind of cooperation would be against. If it is supposed to be against terrorism, will it still be relevant in the case of CPEC and Balochistan, which are the major areas where the country faces growing threats, most noticeably from its Western neighbour.

They also lamented that one of the biggest dilemmas faced by the Muslim world at present was that their leadership was not a true representative of its masses, and the phenomenon was not only rendering them ineffective at the international scale but also weakening them from within. The foreign policy experts unanimously opined that the recognition of Israel was a sensitive and complex issue having many dimensions associated with it.