Amid a hazy course on a contentious topic vis-a-vis Israel, President General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday tied the establishment of relations between Pakistan and Israel to a settlement to the Middle East conflict and the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state. Airing the pragmatic views of the people of Pakistan, Musharraf said in an interview with a newspaper in the UAE. said that “the Pakistani government can only study the question of recognizing Israel if the Middle East conflict is settled and includes the creation of a Palestinian state and the Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories.”
“Recognition (of Israel) is unacceptable for the Pakistani people with the continuing Israeli policy of oppression against the Palestinian people and Israel’s refusal to withdraw from the occupied territories”, he said by adding that “Islamabad will take its decision at the right moment and will take into consideration the feeling in Islamic countries and public opinion in Pakistan”.
This categorical standpoint–aired by the President–manifests his bona fide perceptions on the subject, which were earlier exploited as a crusade by a set of politicians–explicitly those glued with Opposition–prima facie to achieve a few specific motives. To quote an instance, even a knowledgeable Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Jammat-e-Islami chief had even gone to the extent of serving a ‘warning’ with the words that ‘recognition of Israel by the Government of Pakistan will prove to be the last nail in the coffin of present rule in Pakistan’. Perhaps he did not analyize the de facto essence of the plea, which has never been proclaimed as an official communique by any apex leader–including a pragmatic Musharraf–as a final word.
/p> Whatever he said–in a media interview in the United States–was based on realism–without any commitment with any-one. Yet the way it was mis-interpreted depicts the mindset of all those, who seem bent upon resorting to a typical tradition n’ axim–‘opposition for the sake of opposition’–without showing any leaning towards a man, who authored the current democratic rule by on-time fulfilling his pledge, he made in October 1999 with a scenario well-known to all.
Simultaneously, the vision of the Government and the people of Pakistan on the issue of Israel’s recognition has always been as clear as crystal. Israel’s recognition is a very sensitive issue in view of Pakistan’s emotional n’ sentimental attachment with the Palestinian people, who were uprooted from their sanctified soil to create the Jewish State with a global conspiracy and are languishing in refugee camps in their own homeland over the past many decades. They are since being subjected to unabated and indiscriminate death and destruction.
Israel has emerged as a vandal State in the Middle East and is guilty of aggressing against its neighbours. Palestinians are the target of its oppression, repression and bloodshed. The Pakistani people are mindful of their agony and misery and cannot ignore Israel’s brutalities, unleashed against them in a ruthless way. They cannot obviously swallow any review of Pakistan’s position on the issue-unless their Palestinian brethren are given their birth and bona fide rights to lead a life with dignity n’ honour as a sovereign nation, an authentic reality, indexed in the history.
Foreign policy of a country cannot, however, stay static and has to be tailored in line with a given situation and pivotal national interests. Thus a pragmatic approach is as essential as a soothing breath for survival [rather than just resting to emotions] to avert a state of isolation in the global village n’ to compete with the rest for an eventual affluence–in all facets. What is essential is that Israel must end its military oppression against the Palestinians, withdraw its troops from the Palestinian domains, scrupulously adhere to the ME peace road-map and facilitate early establishment of an independent, secure and sovereign Palestinian State.
Besides, Israel is ought to eschew its aggressive designs in the Middle East and prove its intentions to live in peace and harmony with its neighbours to evoke consideration by the world community including Pakistan. If one goes by a realistic interpretation of the President’s viewpoint–on the subject–this is exactly the podium of his views because he is fully aware of the feelings of the people as well as committed to the national interests–as solid as a hard rock.
Its’ evident from the overtly stupendous n’ bold stand-he took on the Kashmir Issue at every forum-may it was the Agra interaction with the Indian leadership, the Kathmandu SAARC summit, his address to the nation or for that matter even the vital pedestal of the United Nations or a contact with the solo super power of the world at Camp David-where he made clear to the globe that Pakistan would never compromise on its national interests-come-what-may.
With such veracity, how can one guess or predict-on his own-that the President shall ever take a one-sided decision on a touchy n’ thin-skinned issue like the recognition of Israel. It is unfair to blame him-without any visible raison d’étre by launching an un-called for crusade based on criticism, which needs to be seized at-once by every patriotic soul on the alluring soil of Pakistan to put the enemy’s [India’s] ferocious designs to a permanent end.
One wishes that MPs team-led by an accepted religious-cum-political leader, MMA’s Maulana Fazalur Rehman would have put off their voyage to India, now being ruled by fanatic BJP with anti-Muslim stance-at least till the resumption of meaningful talks with the antagonistic n’ zigzagging Indian leaders-if they [the MPs] could not wait for the time, the gallant Kashmiris could eventually smash the fetters of Indian tyranny in Held Kashmir, now turned by the New Delhi warlords into a Paradise in Horror.
Isn’t it a fact that India is–in a way–more toxic than Israel?
The author is a noted journalist, political analyst and ex-Director News Pakistan TV. He is a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN).