The cost of unholy visit

"Do not punish people for going to Israel. If you want to be pro-Palestine, help Palestinians in financial and self-defense sectors"

Picture source: Shutterstock

Anchorperson Ahmed Qureshi has been fired from PTV due to his visit to Israel. He had visited Israel with a foreign delegation that had nothing to do with the government of Pakistan. Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb already confirmed that the visit of Qureshi was in a personal capacity. Yet, he was fired amid severe backlash from PTI. Former prime minister Imran Khan alleged this trip was an indicator that an “imported government” is all set to recognize Israel.

First of all, PTI is not in a position to call out someone on the Israel-Palestine issue, because he himself had changed the long-term policy of Pakistan on India-occupied Kashmir. For decades Pakistan clearly stated that India will suffer dire consequences if it revoked Article 360. But Imran Khan clearly stated that India will suffer dire consequences if it dared to mess with INDEPENDENT KASHMIR (which means, he was fine with India snatching the right of self-actualization from the people of occupied Kashmir). We did not expect Mr Khan to invade India, but he really needs to stop giving an impression as if he did invade India.

He showed a laidback attitude toward occupied Kashmir. If you see the foreign office timelines of both India and Pakistan at that time, the Indian foreign minister was actively meeting the leaders of the world to get them on board for the revoking of article 360, while the Foreign Office of Pakistan only made calls. They did not actively counter the step taken by India.

Pakistan is famous for its condemnation, but in the tenure of PTI, we did not even carry out this task wholeheartedly. So PTI is not in a position to give certification of patriotism to anyone. Now coming back to the government, it does not seem to take any action when Israel bombs Palestinians and turns their infrastructure into dust. Our country, despite being a nuclear power, does not defend its oppressed Palestinian brothers when they are being crushed by a small country like Israel. But we have a problem with a journalist visiting Israel for the sake of understanding the conflict.

Since the creation of Pakistan, we have not recognized Israel. We had a really clear policy in that regard. No compromise on Palestine and Kashmir. And we stand by this, till today. There were so many times when Pakistan was offered to revisit its policy regarding Kashmir and Palestine, to let go and move on. But Pakistani government never dared to show any flexibility on these issues due to severe pressure inside the country.

If any government dares to recognize Israel, it can consider itself done. Any party during its tenure that recognizes Israel and opens its embassy in the capital can officially kiss death and PMLN knows it very well. It is already being labelled as an “imported government” by the voters of PTI. Their alleged association with the US has caused them a lot of backlashes. At this point, any association with Israel can be political death for this party. But this doesn’t mean that they can punish a journalist for a visit to Israel.

Pakistanis have serious concerns about the acceptance of Israel on a foreign scale. Understood. The regular flights with Israel might be a security threat because Mossad agents will get direct access to the country. Understood. But firing a journalist for a mere visit is not patriotic. He did not go to meet Mossad officials.

If he was involved in some anti-Pakistan activity, or if he had done something that was threatening to the interests of Palestinians, the punishment would make sense. He only visited Israel with a delegation comprising foreign Pakistanis. Let’s get one thing straight. Israel and India are not so different. Both are suppressing the right of a nation and forcefully occupying their land.

But no journalist is likely to be fired from his job if he goes to India. Qureshi could go to the US, India, and even Armenia, but he is not likely to be cancelled for visiting these countries. We have our differences with Israel. Pakistan cannot recognize Israel. And it’s useless, to be honest. Israel has a strong alliance with India. It will never be a friend to Pakistan anyway. We cannot shake hands with the Zionist state and look over the outcry of innocent Palestinians either. Because this conflict is not merely about a little disputed area of Israel. It is about the existence of Israel as a whole. Meanwhile, do not punish people for going to Israel. If you want to be pro-Palestine, help Palestinians in financial and self-defence sectors.