Pakistan denies rumors it will normalize ties with Israel

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan was being pressured toward normalization with Israel, which he attributed to a conspiracy based on “Israel’s deep impact in the US.”

By Benjamin Kerstein, The Algemeiner

Pakistan reiterated again on Tuesday that it would not normalize relations with Israel, following fresh rumors that the Muslim-majority country might do so.

The rumors began following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s secretive trip on Sunday to Saudi Arabia, where he was said to have met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler.

Pakistani daily The Express Tribune reported that Pakistan’s Foreign Office had dismissed the rumors, saying spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri “categorically rejected baseless speculation regarding possibility of recognition of the State of Israel by Pakistan.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has stated several times that he would not normalize ties with Israel unless it reached a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

The spokesperson reiterated this, saying, “The prime minister has made it clear that unless a just settlement of the Palestine issue, satisfactory to the Palestinian people, is found, Pakistan cannot recognize Israel.”

“For just and lasting peace, it is imperative to have a two-state solution in accordance with the relevant United Nations and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) resolutions, with the pre-1967 borders, and Al-Quds Al-Sharif [Jerusalem] as the capital of a viable, independent and contiguous Palestinian State,” he added.

Earlier this month, Khan said that Pakistan was being pressured toward normalization with Israel, which he attributed to a conspiracy based on “Israel’s deep impact in the US.”