Normalising ties with Israel to cost Pakistan national ideology: experts

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ISLAMABAD : Pakistan will not gain anything by recognising Israel in the security or economic fields except causing a casualty of its own national ideology, which is the real binding force of the country.

This was the crux of the deliberation titled ‘UAE’s recognition of Israel and its implications for the Middle East and Pakistan’, which was held here at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).

The session, chaired by IPS Executive President Khalid Rahman, was addressed by some former ambassadors, security analysts and members of the IPS’ research faculty.

The speakers were unanimous in their views that the issues as delicate, as the recognition of Israel must be addressed in line with the popular opinion and sentiments, and through parliamentary debates. They cautioned that any measure taken against the national ideology and policy environment will create chaos in the country.

It was also deplored that the debate initiated on the issue in the policy arena for some benefits is untimely and counterproductive, as it does not present any vision and proactive plan to benefit from such a major foreign policy shift. Rather, Pakistan does not seem to gain anything by accepting Israel in material terms in the security or economic arena except causing a casualty of its own national ideology.

Speaking from a diplomatic viewpoint, the discussion underscored that while it is important to carve paths of pragmatism from within the underlying grey areas of diplomacy and foreign policy, it is also imperative that no step is taken at the cost of the country’s identity, sovereignty or fundamental ideology. Likewise, it should also be made sure that no compromises are made out of any fear, threat, or greed.

It was pointed out that unfortunately, it is such an argument of pragmatism that is being used on many occasions to get important decisions without bringing it into public debate. A similar attempt is being made in the issue of Israel’s’ recognition as well, as it is very easy to anticipate that any such discussion in the public domain is less likely to garner much support.

Deliberating over the economic aspect, it was stressed that the real issue of the country is not its economic debt, but extreme mismanagement of economic resources that was caused by poor governance. It was highlighted that Israel too was under considerable debt itself, but its efficient utilisation of the loans turned out to be the deciding factor in making its borrowed money beneficial instead of a burden.

Similarly, it was also questioned that if the economic weakness is being deemed as the major reason behind the recognition of Israel, then why rich and self-reliant Muslim countries like UAE have chosen to walk that path?

Over the argument of security and intelligence sharing between Pakistan and Israel, a question was raised that against whom the cooperation will be used? If it is supposed to be against terrorism, it would still be relevant in the cases of CPEC and Balochistan, as these two are the major areas where the country is faced with growing threats, most noticeably from its western neighbour.

The speakers also lamented that one of the biggest dilemmas faced by the Muslim world at present is that its leaders are not true representatives of its masses. The phenomenon is not only rendering them ineffective at the international scale, but also weakening them from within.