Pakistan “will not enter and be able to establish relations with Israel until a concrete and permanent solution to the Palestinian question has been found.”
Pakistan says it has made it clear to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that Islamabad cannot recognize Israel until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.
“I have categorically presented Pakistan’s position on Israel to the UAE Foreign Minister that we cannot and cannot establish relations with Israel until a concrete and permanent solution to the Palestinian question is reached. will not have been found, ”Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters in the central city. from Multan Monday.
Qureshi’s statement came days after his visit to the United Arab Emirates, which was seen by many as crucial amid rumors that Islamabad had secretly sent a messenger to Israel.
Islamabad denied the information, which mainly appeared in the Israeli media.
Responding to questions regarding reports of alleged pressure from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states for recognition of Israel, Qureshi said he had explained to his UAE counterpart “the depth of emotions and feelings Pakistanis have about Palestine and Kashmir ”.
The UAE foreign minister, he said, “fully understood our feelings” on these two issues.
Rebuffing reports of pressure being exerted on Islamabad to recognize Israel, he said: “First, there will be no pressure on us, nor any. Second, we must make decisions with the interests of Pakistan in mind and not because of pressure. We have a policy and we still stick to it. “
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had “repeatedly made it clear that there was no pressure on us in this regard.”
Khan made headlines last month when he revealed that Islamabad had come under pressure from some “friendly” countries to recognize Israel.
Although he has stopped naming countries despite being repeatedly asked whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim countries, many believe the Pakistani leader was referring to Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates United.
The UAE, Bahrain and Morocco recently established diplomatic and economic ties with Israel, while reports suggest other Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, are also considering options for normalizing relations.
In recent years, Pakistan’s relations with its traditional Gulf allies have been strained due to Islamabad’s “neutrality” on several issues, including the war in Yemen and the blockade of Qatar imposed by an Arab-led alliance. by Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh also appears to be angered by Islamabad’s criticism of its lukewarm stance on Pakistan’s long-standing dispute with India over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, claimed in its entirety by the two South Asian neighbors.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said in a statement on Sunday that Qureshi also raised the issue of visa restrictions for Pakistani nationals during the meeting with his Emirate counterpart. .
He said that Qureshi was assured that visa restrictions were “temporary” and were imposed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, the UAE stopped issuing new visas to citizens of 13 predominantly Muslim countries. The decision took effect on November 18 and included citizens of Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Kenya, Lebanon, Tunisia, from Algeria, Turkey and Iran.