Who flew from Pakistan to Israel?

Since Pakistan does not recognise Israel, any news about possible relations between the two countries have always grabbed the media attention in Pakistan and abroad.–File photo

As Pakistan marked anniversaries of two of the grimmest events in its history, the Fall of Dhaka and the APS terror attack, on December 16, Twitter was abuzz with reports coming from the Israeli media about a Pakistani delegation’s alleged visit to Tel Aviv on November 20, 2020.

Since Pakistan’s civil or military leadership has not responded to these reports yet, they lack authenticity. However, a clarification from the Foreign Ministry, the prime minister himself or the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), media wing of the Pakistan Army, is need of the hour to confirm the visit or put these claims to rest once and for all.

As most Pakistanis reacted angrily to these reports coming from different sources, the issue became a top trend on Twitter in Pakistan with the hashtag, “Who is the traitor that went to Israel.” Several Pakistani Twitter users were directing their questions to Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, asking them to name the person who went to Israel. Here is a small sample of reaction of some of the Twitter users to the news about the Pakistani delegation’s alleged visit.

Most people on the social media were citing Noor Dahri’s tweets about Pakistani delegation’s alleged visit to Israel last month. “Who Flew from Pakistan via UK to Israel,” reads the headline of a tweet by Noor Dahri, founder and executive director of the Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism, a UK-based think tank.

Noor’s tweet below the aforementioned headline reads, “It was a morning of the last week of Nov 20 at around 8am, a British Airways flight BA0165 flew from London’s Heathrow airport to Tel Aviv. The person who booked a business class, travelled from Pak.”

Noor, who was born and raised in Pakistan, says Pakistan is facing pressure from Arab countries to leave the Turkish bloc and normalise ties with Israel.

Shama Junejo (@ShamaJunejo), who introduces herself as a columnist and political scientist currently living in London, United Kingdom, tweeted on December 16, “I spoke with Pakistani military sources. They categorically denied of any such contact. However, @dahrinoor2 is absolutely right. I cross-checked & my sources also confirmed the advisor travelled to Israel on 20th Nov. So either the Generals mistold me or IK kept them out of the loop.”

Earlier on December 15 Belaaz (@TheBelaaz), a Jewish media outlet covering Jewish, Israel, USA and World Breaking News, reported that a Pakistani delegation visited the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv last month. Belaaz tweeted, “BREAKING: Sources tell Belaaz that a delegation from Pakistan, a country which has no ties with Israel, has secretly visited in Tel Aviv, Israel last month.”

Regardless of what the Israeli media or other people say, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had made it clear last month that Pakistan would not recognise Israel until creation of a Palestinian state.

The Middle East Eye (MEE) website, a portal with a focus on the region, had quoted Khan as saying the United States was pressurising Pakistan to recognise Israel, especially after peace deals between some Arab states and Tel Aviv, but it would not be possible “unless there is a just settlement, which satisfies Palestine”.

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