No change in Pakistan’s stance toward Israel — foreign office

This photograph taken on Jan. 22, 2020, shows the external view of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad. (AN photo)
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Updated 16 September 2020

No change in Pakistan’s stance toward Israel — foreign office

  • Pakistan wants two-state solution with pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as Palestine's capital, says FO spokesman
  • Calls peace and stability in the Middle East as Pakistan’s key foreign policy priority

ISLAMABAD: The foreign office of Pakistan reiterated on Tuesday there was no change in its stance toward Israel after a British-Pakistani told an Israeli newspaper that the South Asian Muslim country could be the next in line to recognize the Jewish state.

Noor Dahri, a British national of Pakistani origin, told Israel Hayom on Monday that many Arab countries had taken notice of the regional winds of change after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain decided to normalize relations with Israel.

He maintained that Pakistan could be the next to do that, adding that several other Middle Eastern countries may seek rapprochement with Israel sooner than believed.

“Although we do not comment on speculative stories,” the foreign office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri told Arab News, “but let it be said that there is no change in Pakistan’s stance [toward Israel].”

He said that peace and stability in the Middle East remained Islamabad’s key priority, and there was no change in its principled position on Palestine.

“For a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, Pakistan has consistently supported a two-state solution in accordance with the relevant United Nations and Organization of Islamic Cooperation resolutions as well as international law. Pakistan wants pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the capital of Palestine,” said Chaudhri.

Commenting on the recent developments in the Middle East, he added that Pakistan’s approach will be guided by how the rights and aspirations of Palestinians were upheld and how regional peace, security and stability were preserved.


Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

Updated 18 September 2020

Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

  • Under the plan, the government will set up 12 markets along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier
  • Prime minister approves setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by February next year

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to set up markets along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade opportunities, foster peace and check smuggling, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
Main crossing point into Pakistan for both goods and people from Iran and Afghan also serve as major smuggling routes.
“The border markets will help create job opportunities and establish a peaceful relationship with the neighboring countries,” Aisha Humera Moriani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Arab News.
Under the plan, the government is establishing 18 markets: 12 along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier.
In a meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a pilot project, to be functional by February next year.
Moriani said the markets would contribute to local development and help the government address “smuggling and boost legal trade across the border.”
Pakistan is fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to check cross-border militancy, illegal movement of people and smuggling, which is a major source of income for people living along border towns and villages.
Sardar Shoukat Popalzai, President Balochistan Economic Forum, said the government should have built “common markets” along the Afghanistan and Iran borders with the mutual consent of the neighboring governments to maximize benefits for people on both sides of the borders.
“The government has not released a feasibility report, if there is any, of these markets as to how are they going to help the local population,” he told Arab News.
Popalzai said Balochistan border areas were sparsely populated and establishment of a few shopping terminals would “hardly make any difference in the lives of the people.”
He said cross-border smuggling was a major source of income for people living in the frontier areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so “this requires a lot more effort than mere setting up of markets to check this undocumented economy.”
Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should establish cold storages and warehouses in the border markets to boost the export of perishable and other items to the neighboring countries.
“The taxation system on the exports and imports of different items through the land routes should be well defined to encourage businessmen and locals to boost the legal trade with Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.