ISLAMABAD: Muneeb Farooq, anchor of Geo News programme Aapas kee Baat, discussed in his talk show on Wednesday the Israel visit of a Pakistani-American delegation that included Ahmed Quraishi from Pakistan also.
When asked what was the visit’s objective, Quraishi said it was interfaith harmony and the Muslim-Jew understanding, adding the delegation went to Israel from the US, not Pakistan. He explained that the permission for Jewish Pakistani citizen Fishel Benkhald's visit to holy Jewish sites was granted by the Imran Khan government, on Benkhald's request.
When the anchor pointed out Israel’s excesses against the Palestinians, another member of the delegation, Aneela Ali, said Israel and Palestine can resolve the issue. To a question about peace in the region, Quraishi said Palestinians and Arabs are sitting with Israel.
Sami Khan told the anchor, “I am a Pakistani American businessman. My interest in the visit was to test my ideas about Israel, Jews and this conflict.”In his analysis, Muneeb Farooq said Pakistan’s state position about Israel is clear. He asked Quraishi that a question is being asked in view of stories in the media and social media about the objective of his visit and meeting with the Israeli president at a time when a lot is happening there (Israel and Palestine)?
Muneeb asked is any lobbying going on of which he (Quraishi) was a part?Quraishi said Pakistan’s position is quite clear that relations with Israel are only possible if an independent Palestinian state is created, adding that neither he nor any NGO can change that position. He said he is a journalist who covers the Middle East and he would keep doing that.
He said for the first time in 75 years, Pakistan issued a passport to a Pakistani Jew to let him visit the holy sites. Quraishi lauded the previous government for this, which is a step towards interfaith harmony.
Quraishi said the credit of the visit goes to the NGO that facilitated the visit. On tweets by PTI leader Dr Shirin Mazari, Quraishi said she should have denied that the Imran government had allowed the visit, but tagged DG ISPR in her tweets as though she was threatening the state institution that she would unveil a state secret. He said he covers national security like many other colleagues, and is aware of the red flags. Dr Mazari should not have resorted to reacting in an extreme manner, Quraishi lamented.
Quraishi said that during Imran Khan’s tenure, media reported several things including the visit of some special adviser of Imran Khan. This was reported by Israel’s largest newspaper, Israel Hayom, citing Isareli security forces after clearance by the authorities, he added.
Aneela Ali asked why the Arab countries, including the UAE, are moving ahead in ties with Israel? She said they were doing so with a view to engaging Israel and Palestine in diplomacy to resolve the issue.