Pakistan denies Israel recognition
- Istanbul meeting a `gesture' to Israel:
Talks do not imply recognition: Riaz
By Qudssia Akhlaque
ISLAMABAD, Sept 1: Pakistan on Thursday described the Istanbul
meeting between Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri and his
Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom as a `gesture' aimed at helping the
Middle East peace process.
Announcing the major diplomatic development at a news conference here
on Thursday, Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan said: "This
contact, the first at this level, is essentially a gesture to Israel
to underscore the importance that we attach to the end of Israeli
occupation of Gaza and to the Middle East peace
Aziz denies policy shift on Israel recognition: Heated debate in NA
By Raja Asghar
ISLAMABAD, Sept 2: Rejecting opposition's charges of a policy U-turn,
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Friday that Pakistan would not
recognize Israel before an independent Palestinian state was
established and that Thursday's meeting between Pakistani and Israeli
foreign ministers was only a step to engage with the Jewish state in
the interest of Middle East peace.
He assured the National Assembly at the end of a short debate sought
by the opposition through adjournment motions on the issue that the
government had made no policy change about not recognizing Israel and
it would take parliament into confidence when "time comes for
Musharraf's `chance meeting' with Sharon likely
WASHINGTON / NEW YORK, Sept 2: President Pervez Musharraf may have
a "chance meeting" with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in New
York later this month, Ambassador Gen (retd) Jehangir Karamat told
Dawn on Friday.
"All heads of states and governments will be there and if they meet,
there's no harm," said the ambassador who is a former army
Expected Recognition of Israel Part of Agenda Given to Musharraf
By Wajid Shamsul Hasan
South Asia Tribune (WASHINGTON DC)
Sept 5, 2005
Pakistanis read about the Foreign Ministers meeting
Wajid Shamsul Hasan
LONDON, September 5: The rapid moves that Islamabad has been making
indicate that Pakistan would soon become the 5th Muslim country to
recognize Israel, the other four being Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and
Mauritania while Morocco and Qatar only have limited trade ties. And
the credit for it would not go to any elected civilian leader but to
an absolute military dictator.
Since almost four years I have been writing that the recognition of
Israel was part of the multifaceted agenda assigned to General Pervez
Musharraf by powers that be in exchange for support to him for
perpetuating his authoritarian rule against the democratic aspirations
of the Pakistani people.
Pakistan held first ever formal and public contacts with Israel in
Istanbul on September 1 at its own request brokered by Turkey.
Officially described as a historic breakthrough, Islamabad has claimed
that it had the backing of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and President
Mahmood Abbas of the Palestinian State Authority. While Saudis have
not yet come out publicly whether Pakistan's initiative had their
support, a spokesman of the PLA, however, has nailed Islamabad's claim
that the move had the blessing of President Mahmood Abbas.
The Palestinian Authority said on Thursday that it was "worried" about
Pakistan's making high-level diplomatic contact with Israel despite
its occupation of east Jerusalem and the West Bank. "It is not good to
give Israel gifts before it really implements the peace process, not
only in Gaza, but in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem," deputy prime
minister Nabil Shaath told the press. "We are worried about this
because it's not a good time to start relations with Israel."
The West Bank leader of Islamist fundamentalist movement Hamas
denounced the meeting and urged Islamic and Arab states not to fall
into the trap of seeing the Gaza pullout as synonymous with the end of
occupation as naively or advertently understood by Pakistani leader
General Musharraf and his Foreign Minister Mian Khurshid Mahmood
"We condemn any relationship between an Islamic state and the Israelis
and we ask Pakistan to go back on this agreement, especially as the
Palestinian people have not yet been given their rights," said Hamas
spokesman Hassan Yussef.
In order to defuse hostile domestic and foreign reaction as that of
PLA, Musharraf has lost no time in stating that Islamabad would not
recognize Israel until a Palestinian state was established while
Israeli Prime Minister Sharon is insisting that he sees no final
status talks with the Palestinians in the foreseeable future
According to diplomatic sources General Pervez Musharraf has been
under too much pressure from his pro-Zionist Western mentors to
recognize Israel. The Gaza pullout gave them the stick to browbeat the
General into taking initiatives that would soon foreclose recognition.
He had also been conveyed that a positive gesture could mean further
extension in the fast expiring insurance cover to his absolute hold on
power that seemed to be becoming more of an embarrassment to
Washington currently marketing democracy as a global phenomenon.
In this context Assistant of Secretary of State Christina Rocca had
not minced her words during her last visit to Islamabad where she made
it categorically known in the shadow of countrywide allegations of
massive pre-poll rigging in the local bodies elections, that the
United States would like to see 2007 general elections to be
completely transparent with even playing field for all the political
parties and leaders.
In the footsteps of pro-democratic rumblings came the news that
Musharraf has accepted the invitation to address the powerful American
Jewish Congress following the visit of its key members to Islamabad as
his value-added guests. Sources in Islamabad had hinted that things
would start moving towards a thaw with Israel after Musharraf's
September visit to the United States. They had failed to gauge the
urgency propelling Islamabad.
In desperation Turkish intervention was sought, a meeting was brokered
in Istanbul where Pakistan's Foreign Minister Kasuri had rushed to
reveal that his country had decided to "engage" to hold talks with
Israel after years as one of its harshest critics because of what it
saw as the beginning of the end of Israel's occupation of the
While PLA is extremely "worried" over a move described by it as
premature, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, said Israel hoped
to use the Pakistan talks as a springboard for broader diplomatic ties
with Muslim and Arab countries that have long spurned it. Shalom
believes that his meeting would "finally lead to a full diplomatic
relationship with Pakistan as we would like to see with all Arab
countries." "We made a huge breakthrough today...," Shalom said. "We
think it will be a very positive signal to Israeli and Palestinian
public opinion that there are some fruits from this withdrawal from
In a wider move to rope in other Islamic states to recognizing Israel,
Jordan's King Abdullah is also expected to visit Israel as early as
next week to lend his support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's
dismantling of Gaza settlements.
Israel's recognition is thus around the corner, not far away, a matter
of months and not years. Not that, such a recognition would help
Islamabad much though it would definitely help Musharraf's personally
as the man who can deliver. When in Washington later this month, he
would have a very depressive tale to tell to his bosses how much he
had personally to suffer for fulfilling Israeli part of the agenda
assigned to him.
When one looks at the speed behind his moves, it seems that Musharraf
is half way through his agenda. He has already made solution of
Kashmir issue easier by surrendering to India Pakistan's traditional
stand on the UN resolution for plebiscite in Kashmir, not many years
ago for the civilian leaders it was something non-negotiable and
Besides Kashmir, he has delivered a great deal on Pakistan's nuclear
program. One of the most important issues assigned to him in the
agenda was the decision to roll back Pakistan's nuclear program. With
Dr. AQ Khan sitting on top of it, it would have been impossible for
him to dislodge even its single brick. Now Dr Khan has been taken care
of, rendered into a vegetable by design.
From the day he was relieved from KRL in 2001 Pakistan has been on the
downward slide and Musharraf Administration has done it very shabbily
to self-branding Pakistan as being a rogue nuclear state. His recent
diatribe against Dr Khan directly involving him in the North Korean
deals shows a method in the madness, making a scapegoat of Dr Khan
while himself having the cake of his spoils and eating it too.
Instead of defending a program that has practically immunized the
anorchous Pakistani generals from the Indian Army, Musharraf and his
men sacrificed the man who gave them this virtual "Viagra". Our
Generals are only capable of using their guns on unarmed civilians
seeking their democratic and fundamental rights and have no shame in
surrendering vital strategic locations such as Siachen to India
without firing a shot.
Throughout the Cold War Washington's agenda was multifaceted with the
sole objective of combating and minimizing the increasing influence of
Soviet Union. In the process, on the one hand, Islamists were backed,
picked up, pumped to counter Soviet influence in Middle East and on
the other, Israel was nurtured, nourished and nuclearized to play the
role of a bastion state to protect Western interests.
Pakistan under a military ruler, General Ayub Khan, was roped into
CENTO (earlier known as Baghdad Pact) and SEATO to be part of
Washington's strategy to counter China. Although Washington always had
a soft corner for India but it lacked trust in it due to Sino-Indian
friendship until 1962. It also realized that Pakistan under one-man
rule would be more pliable and useful for its geo-strategic interests
in the region as against a democratic India.
This was also the period when Pakistan continued to follow the Arab
line on Israel. It tagged its stand on Tel Aviv's recognition to the
policy of non-recognition by Saudi Arabia and other OIC members
although it had no common borders with Israel, no clash of economic or
strategic interests. Rather, both Israel and Pakistan shared a common
raison d' etre, their religions as founding pillars of their states.
Obviously Israel was left with no option but to befriend India and
support it against Pakistan.
With the end of Cold War, Washington's Israel and Indian policies
acquired a new thrust. Pakistan under a civilian and democratically
elected Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was well oriented to rationalize
its foreign policy objectives and pursue its goals to acquire greater
respect in the comity of nations. While Bhutto stood by her
independence, Pakistan's much too interfering military establishment
went the other way. Though she refused to accept its dictations, it
pursued its own agenda, both overtly and covertly, on Kashmir,
relations with India, Israel and Afghanistan with Taliban in power was
its sole domain beyond the reach of Pakistan's Foreign Office. She did
not realize that those very Quislings who had been responsible for
making a horrible example of her father would make her homeless.
Who could best serve the foreign interests? Not civilian leaders, was
the answer. The Kargil invasion in 1999, a brainchild of Musharraf,
seemingly brought the truth home to Washington once again: In
Pakistan, it is the Army Chief that calls the shots.
Clinton Administration tried to save Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by
issuing a warning as late as September 1999 that it would not approve
of a military coup in Pakistan. However, American generals and CIA who
had developed very close liaison and understanding with their
Pakistani counterparts since their deep throated collaboration from
the days of the Afghan Jihad, saw in the General the person who could
deliver for them on Kashmir, nuclear roll-back, Bush's crusade against
the Jihadi terrorists and recognition of Israel.
And the horrendous tragedy of 9/11 led to the most profitable change
in his fortune. A pariah military dictator with whom no leader of the
civilized world, would shake hands became President Bush's blue-eyed
boy and his Knight Templar in his crusade against terrorism. Just one
line American ultimatum to him that "either you are with us or with
them" brought about from him the most astounding U-turns in military
Now we come to the remaining part of Musharraf agenda which relates to
recognizing Israel. Musharraf believes that once he recognizes Israel,
he will buy a perpetual life-cover for his presidency from Washington.
His "incidental" meeting with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon
Peres early in the year that led to "brief talks" between the two had
set the ball rolling towards the direction of recognition. Answering a
question Musharraf on his meeting made matters further clear. "We are
undertaking great efforts for this to happen."
Musharraf, it may be recalled, had first launched his recognize
Israel' operation in June 2003 when he had said: "Recognizing Israel
will not bring down the skies, if the Arabs are recognizing it, we
also ought to reconsider our policies towards Israel." Looking for an
opportune moment Musharraf again floated the idea in October 2003 when
he said: "We have been in support of the Palestinian cause. If the
peace process moves forward in justice, we can revise our policy with
Much like Musharraf's "incidental" meeting with Shimon Peres, former
Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto too had a chance meeting with him at an
international forum in Europe where the two shared the podium with
other top leaders including Gorbachev. Like his invitation to
Musharraf, Peres also invited Benazir Bhutto to visit Israel. While
Musharraf seems to have dropped the long-standing position of
Pakistan's support for the Palestinians, Ms Bhutto's response was more
appropriate. She told Peres that she will consult Yasser Arafat (until
then alive) before she says anything on the issue of Israel's
recognition or accepts invitation to visit Tel Aviv.
The difference between Bhutto's stand and Musharraf's has been
obvious. While she would not have liked to cause "worry" to the people
of Palestine, Musharraf has gone more than an extra mile towards
recognizing Israel since it would get him closer to Washington, a step
if taken by any civilian leader in Pakistan, would have made Pakistani
military establishment to hang him/her by the gallows.
In conclusion, I share the view expressed by PPP spokesman Senator
Farhatullah Babar on the meeting of the two foreign ministers in
Istanbul that interfaith dialogue is the need of the time. However, no
unilateral decisions should be taken on issues that will have an
impact both domestically and in the Muslim world.
Had the regime taken its langri-looli (handicapped, lame) Parliament
into confidence, its decision would have become more credible. On
important foreign policy issues, solo flight and individual decisions
need to be avoided. Indeed, it is ironic that a regime that criticized
former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for meeting with a former Israeli
Prime Minister at a Socialist International Conference has now sought
the good offices of Turkey to facilitate the meeting with the Foreign
Minister of Israel. An apology to Ms Bhutto would surely be in order.
The writer is a former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK
First official talks held with Israel:
Stand on Palestine unchanged: Kasuri
ISTANBUL, Sept 1: Israel and Pakistan held their first-ever high-
level talks here on Thursday in a bid to normalize ties.
Buoyed by Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip and its desire to
better its ties with Arab and Muslim states in general, Isreali
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid
Kasuri met in Istanbul for what they called `historic'
Saudi king, Abbas supported meeting: Musharraf
By Saleem Shahid
QUETTA, Sept 1: Defending his government's initiative of holding
talks with Israel at the level of foreign ministers, President
General Pervaiz Musharraf said here on Thursday that Thursday's
meeting in Istanbul had the support of Palestinian President Mohammad
Abbas and Saudi King Abdullh bin Abdulaziz. He said that in his
opinion, significant progress was under way in efforts to resolve the
Palestinian issue, adding that Pakistan would have to play a role in
promoting an early settlement of this longstanding conflict that was
the root-cause of terrorism in the Middle East and affected the
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