Pakistanis Begin to Visit Israel

(Ha'aretz) Hamza Azhar Salam - The contention that Israel and/or Jews are obsessively engaged in a long-term plot to destabilize Pakistan, and that Pakistan has a sanctified duty to dismantle Israel, is practically an iron rule of Pakistani grassroots and political discourse. Yet recently, a 15-member delegation visited Israel, organized by the American Muslim and Multifaith Women's Empowerment Council and by Sharaka, an NGO founded in the wake of the Abraham Accords to embed people-to-people normalization between Israel and Muslim-majority states. The delegation included American Pakistanis, a British Pakistani, and prominent Pakistani journalist Ahmed Qureshi, who works for Pakistan's state broadcaster, Pakistan Television (PTV). Qureshi told me: "All Israelis we met went the extra mile to show us that...they respect Muslims from other countries in the world. They would like to make the experience of local Palestinians and visitors from outside who want to visit [Jerusalem's] Masjid al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock and other holy sites as smooth as possible." The fact that a Pakistani journalist working for the state broadcaster could make this trip reflects that the Pakistani state is increasingly open to normalization. The writer is a Pakistani journalist based in London.

2022-05-26 00:00:00

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