Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced in Dubai recently that the time has arrived for his nation to consider official diplomatic relations with Israel.
Pervez Musharraf, who served as president of Pakistan from 2001 to 2008, commented recently in Dubai that the time is ripe to revisit his nation’s position on Israel.
Specifically, Musharraf commented, “There is no harm to establish a relationship with Israel,” positing that the arrangement could help his country in the longstanding conflict with its neighbor, India, reported The Media Line. Musharaff also communicated his hope that such a move would help Pakistan interface with an “elite club” of “influential” states.
The ex-president’s comments were made against the backdrop of flare-ups in the Kashmir region between Pakistani and Indian forces, including a dog fight last week between India and Pakistanthat ended with an Indian Air Force pilot shot down and imprisoned briefly behind enemy lines.
During his term as president, Musharaff transitioned from an anti-Israel stance to advocating the establishment of ties between his Muslim-majority nation and the Jewish state. In 2005, Musharraf took a significant step in this direction, agreeing to a meeting between the two nations’ foreign ministers that was set up by U.S. businessman Jack Rosen, who currently serves as president of the American Jewish Congress (AJC).
Musharraf also addressed an AJC gathering that year, declaring, “Pakistan has no direct conflict with Israel.” He further elaborated, “Pakistan is not a threat to Israel’s security. [And] Israel represents no threat to Pakistan’s national security.”
Musharaff tempered his remarks by adding, “I have sympathy for the Palestinian people” and their “desire for a state.”
Meanwhile, The Media Line published Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s response to Musharaff’s recent comments about ties with Israel, including Qureshi’s comment that “Pakistan has had a pro-Palestine stance for a long time. We cannot even think of establishing contact with Israel until Palestine is internationally recognized as an independent state.”
The attitude on the Pakistani street is distinctly anti-Israel.
Musharaff resides in self-imposed exile in Dubai, due to court cases in Pakistan related to his alleged role in assassination schemes.