Evolving Pakistan-Israel relations; Imran Khan’s narrative resurrected
Recently, taking unpopular decisions and confronting the people’s will has become a norm with the sitting government. After using force to limit the long march held on 25th May 2022, the resentment against the forced regime is obvious and gaining momentum with every passing second.
With Israel’s President, Isaac Herzog, confirming the meeting with Pakistan’s delegation, the situation has taken an unexpected turn. Alarmingly, at least one of the delegates is an employee of the Pakistan television network. The other delegates have close ties with the members of the sitting government. It can be the most unpopular decision the government has made till now. Sadly the news surfaced when Israel mercilessly killed an inspirational journalist from Aljazeera, Shireen Abu Akleh. The government’s insensitiveness on the matter is phenomenally sad.
— Sharaka – شراكة (@sharakango) May 19, 2022
Putting our weight on the west had always left us in chaos whenever we sought their support the most. We completely ignore the significance and importance of our geopolitical and economic position, neighbors’ preferences, and plans in the new polarized world.
This is not the first time the PMLN government has shown interest in normalizing relations with Israel. In an interview with an Israeli news channel, Noor Dahri, the founder and executive director of UK-based Islamic Theology of Counter-Terrorism (ITCT), claimed that the Nawaz government had sent two delegations to Israel in the past as well. Not only that, Mulana Ajmal Qadri, formal JUI leader, claimed that Nawaz Sharif was very passionate about developing relations with Israel, and he sent Mulana Ajmal Qadri to Israel to negotiate investment in the textile industry. As an obedient ally to the west, the new regime is rushing toward its given targets. One of the most critical ones is recognizing Israel and normalizing relations.
PMLN has faced a huge backlash after the news was confirmed at the highest forum. The PTV anchor is now off-air, making him the scapegoat with little success. Some like-minded people and pressure groups are keeping the news and topic alive by highlighting the wonders it can unveil for Pakistan on the different social media platforms. The initiative is inconspicuous but forceful. The new regime has tried to keep itself apart from the conspiracy. Still, it is unlikely that individuals and pressure groups can maneuver on such a sensitive and strategic topic without the government’s and power hubs’ consent.
On Jun. 8, 2022, an article published in Haaretz stated that Saudi is pressuring Pakistan to normalize with Israel, and the country could not afford to resist as the last Sunni state. The article further highlighted the steps taken to create awareness regarding the potential and possibilities of normalizing Pakistan-Israel relations on different social media platforms. But what is the catch behind this endeavor?
Imran Khan and his government’s role in pushing a cease-fire on Gaza, which began on 21 May 2021, were phenomenal. Under his leadership, Pakistan made it clear that under no circumstances it can recognize Isreal without a sustainable, peaceful solution to the Palestine issue. Pakistan has the same stance for Kashmire. Therefore the two issues are mutually coherent.
Moreover, Pakistan shares 832 kilometers long border with Iran. In March 2021, Iran signed a much-anticipated 25-year strategic cooperation agreement with China. Now Pakistan, China, and Iran enjoy shared geo-economic goals. On the other hand Israel considers Iran its primary adversary. Additionally, Pakistan has always been skeptical about the India-Israel nexus. Furthermore, hoping to reap the benefit from relation with Isreal is nothing more than a mirage, with useless pursuit.
IK had a clear opinion regarding the Israel and Palestine issue. He is vocal and assertive on the topic. When he was in power, he bore the pressure but resisted deciding in favor of Israel. He rejected the possibilities based on our religious and historical pledges.IK and his team were phenomenally candid during the Israeli 11 days long large-scale military attack on the Gaza Strip. The echoes of “deep pockets” still resonate in the west and are considered one of the major reasons behind the forced regime change.
Moreover, the sitting government and Imran Khan strive to attain and retain the people’s attention, trust, love, and loyalty. The evolving scenario will favor IK in the polarized political scenario. Pakistanis will perceive this as betraying the Palestinian cause they feel strongly about.
Even if all this is pivoting from the change in the establishment’s preference, the decision has next to no support in the masses, which will strengthen the IK narrative. The sitting government will be visualized as nothing more than a puppet in the hands of the USA.
With no public legitimacy and approval, the government is abruptly opting for a paradigm shift. It is destined to backfire. The new regime is completely ignoring its people and their will. The centralized autocratic government with no opposition is experiencing severe economic conditions followed by an unfriendly budget. On 25th May 2022, the world saw the worse form of forcible suppression of opinion and opposition. The contemporary face of fascism in Pakistan is derailing Pakistan beyond the possibility of redemption and recovery. The general public takes the government’s initiatives to normalize relations with Isreal as blatant hypocrisy. Seemingly, the divine is maneuvering for Imran Khan as this initiative was revealed at the global event at the wrong time. It is nothing less than a test for the government to limit its adverse impact on its goodwill, reputation, and future. Whereas for Imran Khan, it is a much-needed lifeline where the people can see the forced regime change is rapidly progressing to the implementation phase.
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