By: Wajahat Raheel
Pakistan’s foreign policy has always been an amalgamation of domestic politics and national interest and in given circumstances, Islamabad seemingly would never think of opening a stage for massive protests in the country through its move for recognition of Israel.
In today’s globalized world, the events always have impact over the environment. The wave of recognizing Israel among Muslim countries is taking off. Soon after United Arab Emirates, Bahrain recognized Israel as a state whereas it still remains under question if Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would recognize Israel or not. Sheikh Abdul Rehman Sudais in his sermon, referred to Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) kindness to humanity and in that wake, Sheikh Sudais expressed the desire for normalization of relations with Israel. This normalization surely would go through recognition of Israel otherwise it does not makes sense. After these Arab countries, eyes of the world would be upon Pakistan whose Prime Minister Imran Khan has already put forth his refusal to recognize Israel at any cost. Pakistan is already passing through hard time and during such patch, its foreign policy towards Israel issue would be a focal point.
Saudi Arabia is a center of Muslim world and also takes a lead in OIC. After KSA recognizes Israel, a pressure may develop over Pakistan to recognize Israel when KSA and several other Arab states are doing the same. It could be noted that Saudi Arabia runs under a different political and social setup from Pakistan. A monarchy where from politics to social life, everything is controlled and directed by the state, one may consider the speech of Sheikh Sudais as stance of Royal family and not his personal desire. Further, the social fabric in KSA is familiar with controlled environment and domestic conditions other than economy which plays a minimal role in Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy. But, it is not the case in Pakistan. A democracy having rough history and many lessons learnt from past especially during War on Terror, Pakistan is about to get on a smooth and steady track towards stability and progress, in such circumstances it would never be an option for Pakistani authorities even to consider the recognition of Israel. A little step towards it would be fueling the fire among social fabric of the country which is always charged with emotions especially when it comes to religious affairs whether national or international and Pakistanis take Israel-Palestine issue as much a religious one and stand with Palestine. People in Pakistan have always been frontline demonstrators against any act of blasphemy conducted anywhere in the world and are much sensitive to matters they consider as religious. The political conditions are also not supporting the move if considered. There is a rift going among opposition parties who apparently try to convey the message of unity against PTI government. Opposition members under the banner of PDM have called on nation-wide strike and reiterate their aspiration to hold a long march soon against the sitting government. Maryam Nawaz, Vice President of PML-N has once again decided to bring forth her anti establishment narrative in hope of getting a share in pie. The uproar created by opposition members during the last National Assembly session when government produced the bill for legislation in favor of open ballet pushed the government to give up on the move. Though these acts kept the bill from being tabled in lower house but it presented an alarming image about Pakistani politics. The future critics would target Imran regime holding it responsible for bringing the country to verge of political instability. In given set of circumstances when opposition has formed a united front against government, country is facing a crippled economy which has flared up the emotions of common public. The issue of inflation that emerged owing to International Monetary Fund’s policies does not seem to reach a resolve unless the debt is cleared; meanwhile, sticking to IMF’s direction is a necessary evil for PTI government. Being entangled in numerous issues and fighting at several fronts causing political, social and economic instability, it remains bigger question that how will Imran Khan bring the country out of such uncertainty that prevails in the nation.
(Author is student of International Relations based in Islamabad. [email protected])