(mechanical whirring) (light music) – [Kasim] Despite decades
of intense hostility to any notion of recognising
the Jewish state, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his military supporters
are now apparently allowing the country’s highly censored
media unprecedented freedom to discuss the possibility of establishing diplomatic
relations with Israel. It seems the once-taboo subject
of reassessing the position on the tiny but powerful state located between the Jordan
River and the Mediterranean Sea is more than ever part
of mainstream discourse. I’m your host Kasim and
thanks for joining me on this very hot topic to discuss if Pakistan
will recognise Israel. Just before we start, this video has been
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and we highly recommend it. Please check it out on nippybrands.com and use the coupon code in the description for a 50-pound discount. The newest debate on this
very sensitive matter started when Kamran Khan, a veteran Pakistan journalist
and editor-in-chief of one of its most
influential media groups, asked on Twitter, “Why can’t
we openly debate pros and cons “of opening direct and overt
channels of communication “with the State of Israel?” It is worth mentioning
that such discussion has popped up on
mainstream Pakistani media in the immediate aftermath
of Imran Khan’s meeting with Donald Trump on July the 22nd, and growing Saudi ties with Israel. Early this year,
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told
the Israeli newspaper Maariv that Pakistan wants
normal ties with Israel. That doesn’t, however, mean that Islamabad plans to recognise the
Jewish state any time soon. Some analysts in Pakistan
advocate that the country should take more pragmatic
and realistic positions and accept the fact that Israel exists and is not going away, but at this point there will unlikely be a formal recognition
of the Jewish state. Although for Israel
building links with Pakistan is not hugely beneficial at this juncture, Tel Aviv would certainly
appreciate Islamabad’s recognition ahead of a potential
confrontation with Iran, Pakistan’s neighbour to the west. Also, Israel might like
to explore the possibility of using Pakistan against Iran. However, with a 21%
Shiite Muslim population, Pakistan cannot afford
a sectarian conflict. For Israel, India seems to be a more important country than Pakistan. Tel Aviv reportedly wishes to sell India several advanced weapons
manufactured by defence industries, such as spy planes, unmanned aircraft, anti-tank missiles,
cannons and radar systems. India remains Israel’s
biggest arms market, thought to be worth about
$1 billion annually. A report from the Sweden-based Stockholm International
Peace Research Institute released earlier this
year found that India accounts for 46% of
Israel’s arms export trade, with Azerbaijan and Vietnam the second and third biggest clients respectively. However, if Islamabad and Tel Aviv eventually establish diplomatic ties, Israel could provide
weapons to Pakistan as well. In case of a potential conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, Israel would certainly
play an important role by arming both sides in
this divide and rule game. Several commentators in Pakistan have offered a list of advantages which recognition of Israel
would bring to Pakistan. The list includes reduced risk of a strike against Pakistan’s nuclear assets, access to Israel’s military technology, and throwing a spanner in Israel’s growing special relationship with India. However, the vast majority of Pakistanis would see this as another
treasonous sell-out, a costly concession extracted from their spineless rulers
in exchange for loans that will only deepen
Pakistan’s foreign debt. Some of Pakistan’s
religious political parties such as the Jamaat-e-Islami,
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and militant groups
such as Lashkar-e-Taiba fiercely oppose any relations with Israel. They have repeatedly
called the Jewish state the enemy of Islam and Pakistan. From their perspective,
Israel is a colonial-settler and racist state that was
founded on terror and violence, as well as on the ruined foundations of a living Palestinian society. They see Israel as a Zionist project that resulted in ethnically cleansing more than a million
Palestinians in 1948 and 1967. On the other hand, there are Pakistanis who support the recognition
of the Jewish State. In 2016, a Pakistani Ph.D. scholar and writer, Malik Shahrukh, started the Israel
Pakistan Friendship Group, which campaigns for the
diplomatic relationship between the two nations. The highest-ranking Pakistani politician who advocated open
diplomatic ties with Israel was the former President General
Pervez Musharraf in 2003. Over the past 15 years
he has urged his country to initiate such a diplomatic move. Also, the Pakistani and
Israeli foreign ministers held their first ever
publicly acknowledged meeting on September the 1st, 2005 in Ankara over five decades after the
creation of the two states. In addition, several
unofficial diplomatic exchanges have taken place between Pakistani and Israeli functionaries
over the decades. At an official level, in the
United Nations General Assembly session in October 1947, just two months after
successfully founding a nation-state based
on Muslim nationalism, Pakistan’s first foreign
minister Zafarullah Khan strongly opposed the
idea of a nation-state based on Jewish nationalism. His argument was that unlike Pakistan, a Jewish state in Palestine would be an artificial
result of immigration. Some analysts, however, argue
that the Indian Partition resulted in the largest mass
migration in human history, and that Pakistan, who is less than a year
older than modern Israel, was created as an
artificial spinoff of India. It was in the 1990s,
after the Oslo Accords, that the question over
Pakistani recognition of Israel first began entering the mainstream. However, it gradually became evident that even supporting the Palestinians would require some engagement
with the State of Israel. The incident that illustrates
this came in August 1994, when the then Pakistan’s
Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto wouldn’t visit Gaza because that visit would have required
coordination with Israel. Still, the first
break-through came in 1978 when Egypt recognised Israel in return for an annual
U.S. payment of $2 billion. Ever since, some political circles in the corridors of power in Islamabad have been discussing the possibility of normalising ties with Tel Aviv, but to this day that topic remains highly controversial in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot recognise Israel overnight even if it wants to. There needs to be a trigger
or an event of significance that will allow Islamabad to take such a step and stand by it. At this point, Pakistan is not in any rush to recognise the Jewish state, as the idea of recognising Israel would prove suicidal for
Prime Minister Imran Khan and the influential military generals. Any steps towards
diplomatic ties with Israel will likely have to
wait until Saudi Arabia formalises relations with Israel. In the past two decades, the perceived increased Iranian threat has brought the conservative
Sunni Arab states even closer to Israel. Based on mutual concerns
about Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, the United
Arab Emirates and Qatar have engaged in quiet
cooperation with Israel on security and intelligence sharing. As long as there is no
serious pressure from the U.S. on Pakistan’s leadership
to recognise Israel, Islamabad will most likely stay away from this politically sensitive matter. In the meantime, the country will probably try to take advantage by sticking with the Organisation
of Islamic Cooperation, and the Arab League’s
official position of Israel albeit their political irrelevance. In the meantime, the
television networks in Pakistan might stop blacking out Israeli
teams during the Olympics, as has happened in the past. Such a move, however, might be interpreted as a start of a recognition process. That’s all for today guys, thanks for watching another KJ Vid. We hope you enjoyed this video and would love to hear your
thoughts in the comments below especially if you are from Pakistan. Please don’t forget to
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