Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said his government is under pressure to recognise Israel, insisting that Islamabad would never establish relations with the “Zionists”.
Khan revealed this during an interview with a private television, where he stated that after the recognition of Israel by Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, Islamabad is also being asked to recognise Israel, something that his government has rejected till now.
“I have no second thought about recognising Israel unless there is a just settlement, which satisfies Palestines,” he said.
When asked to name the countries, which have insisted on Islamabad to recognise Israel, Khan refrained from pin pointing and opted to be silent on the question. “There are things we cannot say. We have good relations with them,” he said.
Khan reiterated that founding father of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azad Muhammad Ali Jinnah had refused to recognise Israel, adding, “Islamabad would continue to follow Jinnah’s footsteps vis-a-vis Palestine.”
Khan said Israel has a strong influence in the US, which he said is “another country pressurising him to recognise Israel”. “The pressure is because of Israel’s deep impact (influence) in the US. This influence was in fact extraordinary during the (US President Donald) Trump stint,” he said.
The recent recognition of Israel by the UAE and Bahrain has resulted in diplomatic economic relations with Tel Aviv, while many other Arab countries are also considering normalisation of relations with Israel.
Pakistan being an externally economic dependent country, recognition of Israel and establishment of economic ties can be a major support for Islamabad. However, Khan has said that Islamabad would regain its economic strength on its own.
Khan said US President-elect Joe Biden’s approach on the issue of Israel needs to be seen, stating that “Afghanistan is not the real issue, but Israel is”. “It is to be seen how Biden deals with that. Whether he changes Trump’s policies about Israel or continues with them”.
“I am not sure about Biden’s policy on Israel, Iran and Kashmir, but I am sure there will be no change in Washington’s Afghan policy. The Democrats too want to pull out of Afghanistan,” he added.