Guest Post by Ali Raza.
In this age where most of the countries of the world are busy in establishing a strong economy and are finding ways to strengthen themselves and are trying to ensure a better future for their nation, Pakistan is still fighting a battle of right and wrong. We are still busy in the debate of what we want and with whom shall we talk and with whom shall we fight. This state of enigma is hurting nobody but the country itself. When I was a child I was filled with a partial dislike of India and a complete hatred of Israel, when I reflect on that, I am sure that it was due to the biased history we were taught at that time. When we will not be shown the picture of the both sides, i.e. Dark and the bright side, what more can anybody expect. It sometimes strikes me that I have been hating Israel and disliking India for the first 15 years of my and after that, when I became more sensible, I started to explore and I am of this point of view that branding Israel with the titles as Zionists and free masons, the terms which most of my countrymen don’t even understand, won’t help us in anyway. Breaking all ties with Israel just because of the sake of religious differences will make the things even worse. If we are going to break our diplomatic relations with any country just because of the fact that we have a cultural and religious clash then I am afraid we will have to isolate ourselves from the whole of the west, but that is not going to happen. Then why do this with only Israel? Are we going to follow the version of Islam which our Mullahs are preaching us? I am afraid that is the case. Most of the Friday sermons which I have listened to, have ended on the cursing notes on India and Israel, which is a sad thing to even think of. The thing which I want to ask everybody here is that, Is Israel our real enemy? I know we have many cultural clashes and religious differences with Israel but that should not make any country an enemy; at least I don’t think that it should. I am aware of the fact that Israel has launched operations on many Arab states in the past, but these operations have not been directly related to Pakistan, yet Pakistani soldiers went there to fight against Israel, this has happened most of the time when an Arab state has been attacked. Yet the attack wasn’t related to Pakistan at all, then why on Earth should we intervene? The hatred against Israel is increased when people think of the attack that Israel was going to launch on our nuclear missile technology, but I think that it was a response to the interference of Pakistan in the wars of Israel and the Arab states.
The only thing I want to refer here is that we should be the ones to resolve the issues in order to attain mutual cooperation and harmony.
Our history with Israel has been a violent one to say the least. From the establishing of both the countries in 1947 and 1948, our relations with Israel have dwindled between the two extremes, from going from having close ties to hostility. The two nations have been established on their historical ideologies, i.e. For Pakistan: “The two nation theory” and for Israel: “The homeland for Jews”. The ideology itself is a conflict on the religious backgrounds for both nations. The relations between Israel and Pakistan have been well and truly described by the leading military scientist and writer, Dr. Ayescha Sideeka as the “Love hate relationship”.
Though there is no embassy of Pakistan in Israel or vice versa, because Pakistan doesn’t recognize Israel yet but both countries have been involved in the exchange of information recently through their embassies in Istanbul. In 1970’s too, against the Soviet Union, but the hostilities always make the headlines, Israel has branded Pakistan as an “Anti-Semitic state” while Pakistan has always countered it by labeling Israel as a “Zionist state”. Having such a torrid history is the fault of both the think tanks. I feel that Pakistan has always shown dual standards, when we need some intelligence mingling we contact Israel but when it comes to having close ties with Israel, it is not the case. This has happened in the Zia’s era.
Muslim states such as Turkey and Egypt are examples of having a peaceful collaboration with Israel. They have recognized Israel and are having close ties too with it and they are benefiting too. I believe that we should have the same approach towards this issue too. Speaking of other historical events, there is the event of Pakistan sending military aid to Arab countries against Israel and Israel answering it by planning an attack on the Pakistani nuclear assets, but it never happened.
The diplomatic ties with Israel have been close to none. From the years when the two countries came in to being up till now there hasn’t been any kind of real diplomatic developments between the two nations. There hasn’t been any embassy established, neither in Pakistan, nor in Israel. This is perhaps a failure of the policy makers of the both nations. No Pakistani can even travel to Israel, because his/her passport doesn’t allow that. It is clearly stated on the passport, which is a real sorrow face to see.
Several leaders of the both nations have tried to make the situation better but there seems to be an unfixable matter which turns up every time. Almost all the time, the severe religious conflict has been a halt and a barrier which both the countries have not been able to topple. I hope that in future our diplomatic ties will grow and we will eventually recognize Israel, all our issues can be resolved by mutual correspondence, a lesson which is given by our religion. I am confident that diplomatic ties will be established which will help both the countries and is a need of the hour too.
As we have seen that both countries don’t have any major contacts at any higher level which is really amazing to even think of in the modern era, this ultimately leads to only one thing that there is no trade being happening between the two countries which is in a way effecting Pakistan more than Israel because of one simple reason that the economy of Israel is stronger than that to Pakistan and it is actually Pakistan who needs to boast up her economy by increasing trade. It is not only the economic grounds in which we are facing troubles, in fact this one thing has such a huge impact on each and every aspect that we cannot even imagine. So I feel that it is in the best interest of both the countries to establish diplomatic relations and also to develop trade so that they can benefit from it. In this age we are living in, hostilities cannot bring us anything in fact it is the other way round. It is the sense of peace and harmony and standing in good relations with the community of country which can benefit us in the long run. I have often heard this argument that we cannot develop relation with a “Zionist state” and frankly speaking, I am sick of it. I am not at all indicating to have a compromise over religion or anything like that but I am just saying the things which I feel are in the best interests of the both countries specially Pakistan. We have ourselves created this debate of right and wrong and I think that it is the best time to end it right here. I don’t understand that if we can use the products which have been manufactured in the Israeli markets and are sent to Pakistan from an indirect route then what is the problem in having proper and solid trade agreements which will surely help both the nations?
From the very beginning we have seen that both the countries have always been standing on the opposite end of the rope and have never been able to stand in good relation with each other and the current standing is not any different, there is a sense of insecurity within the leadership of both the nations and also in the minds and hearts of the citizens. It is always thought here in Pakistan that Israel can never be a good ally or a friend of Pakistan, but the problem here is that we have not tried Israel as a friend so how can anyone give a judgment like this. There is still a sense of hostility among both the nations, one major cause of all this insecurity is perhaps the difference of point of views on certain issues, like the issue of Palestine and also the area of Jerusalem. These two issues make Pakistan reluctant in having any kind of relations with Israel, but again I will say that these issues can be held by hold composite dialogues, but yes, for that you will have to recognize Israel as a country first which I am afraid, hasn’t been done yet by Pakistan, which is a failure of the Pakistan’s policy makers, but there is this glimmer of hope that shines every time and I hope that it will happen very soon, sooner than may be we can’t imagine.