Pakistan’s Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan says his country will never recognize Israel, which he said is the Pakistani nation’s “number one enemy.”
“We will never recognize Israel. Israel is Pakistan’s number one enemy,” said Khan in a public session in parliament on Thursday.
Khan’s comments come in response to recent comments made by Pakistan’s former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf.
Speaking at a news conference in the Emirati city of Dubai earlier, the self-exiled Musharraf had called for a strengthening of Islamabad’s relations with the Tel Aviv regime in a bid to counter Pakistan’s arch-rival India.
Khan, however, ruled out any such scenario, reiterating that the Pakistani nation was united in its decision not to recognize Israel.
“The Pakistani people will strongly resist those who will even talk of having friendship with Israel,” the minister stressed.
Khan’s statements echoed earlier comments made by Pakistan’s United Nations Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi rejecting any relations with Tel Aviv and highlighting her country’s commitment to Palestine.
Senior Pakistani lawmaker and head of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah has also recently said that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will not ever “make the mistake” of recognizing Israel.
Separately, last January, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal ruled out any prospect of opening ties with Israel and described Pakistan as being supportive of the rights of the Palestinian people.
Earlier this week, Pakistan’s leading English-language newspaper Dawn cited a high-ranking government source as saying that Israel had assisted India in its recent confrontation with Pakistan following a car bombing that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir on February 14.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also claimed this week that Islamabad had foiled an Indian plot assisted by Israel against the country.