ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi on Sunday reaffirmed Pakistan’s unchanged stance of not establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, citing the well-being of the Palestinian people as the primary reason in an interview.
Solangi’s comments came hours after Geo News reported that Pakistan’s interim foreign minister Jalil Abbas Jilani had said any decision to establish bilateral relations with Israel would hinge on the nation’s own interests and the well-being of the Palestinian people.
Jilani’s remarks were said to be in response to claims by his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, who indicated he had met with leaders of several Islamic nations in recent days who were likely to forge diplomatic ties with Israel soon.
However, the Pakistani foreign minister clarified there had been no recent meetings between his country’s officials with Israeli authorities.
“Some Muslim countries in the world have long maintained diplomatic relations with Israel,” Solangi told GTV News. “But we don’t have such ties for the last 75 or 76 years. Pakistan has taken a traditional and principled stand [over the issue], and the state and its institutions stand by it.”
“Pakistan’s position on Israel is related to the future of the people of Palestine,” he continued. “As long as Palestinians do not get their free country and their right to self-determination, which is recognized in the United Nations resolutions, Pakistan will not abandon its Palestinian brothers.”
The information minister said how other Muslim countries viewed their relations with Israel was their discretion.
“We respect all countries and their policies,” he said. “But we cannot be forced by any country to alter our position as well.”
Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar also advocated for a two-state solution as a path to enduring peace in Palestine during his United Nations General Assembly speech on Friday.
He reiterated Pakistan’s position on the matter, calling for the “establishment of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state within the pre-June 1967 borders with Al-Quds as its capital.”
Kakar also criticized Israeli military raids against Palestinians and its expansion of settlements in the Occupied Territories.
However, Geo News quoted an unnamed Pakistani diplomat in its report as saying he hoped that his country “would not have to make a decision on this matter [of normalizing relations with Israel] in the near future.”