Pakistan says it has nothing to do with expatriates' visit to Israel
Israel’s President Isaac Herzog at the World Economic Forum last week confirmed he had met with a "Pakistani delegation of expats" a few weeks ago, which included two nationals living in the United States.
The Pakistani government has denied the group was on an official visit.
"Pakistan's position on the Palestinian issue is clear and unambiguous. There is no change whatsoever in our policy on which there is complete national consensus. Pakistan steadfastly supports the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination," said Pakistan’s foreign office in a statement.
🔴 Depuis le Forum économique de @Davos le Président de l'État d'Israël @Isaac_Herzog révèle s'être entretenu avec des délégations du Pakistan 🇵🇰 et d'autres délégations de pays musulmans de cette région. Israël n'entretient aucune relation diplomatique avec le Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/2kGpFuR5L6— Jonathan Serero (@sererojonathan) May 25, 2022
The alleged delegation included Pakistani journalist Ahmed Qureshi and Jewish Pakistani Fischel Ben Khald. Both reportedly entered the country on Pakistani passports.
Herzog said the Pakistanis were "very welcome" to travel to Israel and he was pleasantly surprised by the trip.
A Pakistani American delegation has visited Israel. The delegation met top Israeli leadership including Israeli President.— OSINT Insider (@OSINT_Insider) May 11, 2022
Some 'famous' faces from Pakistani media fraternity are also part of the delegation. Some even work for state media. pic.twitter.com/RUVJGX9PgV
However, the visit sparked outrage in Pakistan as Islamabad does not officially recognise Israel.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman and ex-premier Imran Khan said on Sunday the rulers were a security threat for the country, alleging that they had been ‘tasked with recognising Israel’ and compromising with India on Kashmir issue.https://t.co/h4zERkOwWk— Dawn.com (@dawn_com) May 30, 2022
Several prominent members of Pakistan's political class and civil society have criticised the trip.
Former human rights minister Shireen Mazari expressed her "shock" at the inclusion of journalist Ahmed Quraishi, alleging he is closely linked to a "state institution of sensitive nature".
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted from power in April this year, claimed the current government has been "tasked with recognising Israel".