Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has categorically rejected any possibility of establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, according to a media report.
“Our policy on Israel is clear: The Quaid-i-Azam (Muhammad Ali Jinnah) had said that Pakistan can never accept state of Israel until the people of Palestine get rights and an independent state,” Khan said in an interview with private news channel ‘Dunya TV’ Tuesday.
Pakistan and Israel do not have diplomatic relations and their aircraft are not allowed to use each other’s airspace.
“If we recognise Israel and ignore tyranny faced by the Palestinians, we will have to give up Kashmir as well, and this we cannot do,” he said.
His remarks came in the backdrop of recent peace overtures between the UAE and Israel, with the former becoming only the third Arab nation to enter into a peace deal with the Jewish state.
Questions were also asked in Pakistan why it was following an antagonistic policy toward Israel when the Arabs were embracing the Jewish state in the changing regional political alignment.
When asked to comment on the UAE’s ties with Israel, Khan said that every state had its own foreign policy.
He also rejected the impression that Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia were under stress due to the Kashmir issue. “Saudi Arabia is one of our key friends and our relations are still fraternal and unchanged,” he said.
Khan praised Pakistan’s ties with China and said that the country’s future was linked to China which stood with it in all difficult times. He also said Chinese President Xi Jinping would visit Pakistan in the coming winter.
Prime Minister Khan also talked about several domestic issues, including the government’s successful handling of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Initially even my party leaders were against my strategy and were asking why strict lockdown was not being imposed in the country,” he said, adding that the ‘our smart lockdown strategy worked’ and helped to curtail the virus.
Khan’s interview coincided with the completion of two years of his government. His policies were repeatedly attacked by the opposition parties.