FO rejects Pakistani delegation’s visit to Israel

Security guards stand outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Following a Pakistani delegation’s visit to Israel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday categorically rejected the visit. 

The FO spokesperson, responding to media queries, said that the reported visit in question was organised by a foreign non-governmental organisation (NGO) which is not based in Pakistan.

A day earlier, a delegation of Pakistanis met Israeli Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem. It also included a former government minister.

According to the Foreign Office, Pakistan’s position on the Palestinian issue is clear and unambiguous. “There is no change whatsoever in our policy on which there is a complete national consensus,” the statement said.

The statement further said that Pakistan steadfastly supports the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination.

“The establishment of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian State with pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, in accordance with the relevant United Nations and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) resolutions, is imperative for just and lasting peace in the region,” read the statement.

A day earlier, the trip organiser said the delegation also included representatives from the American Muslims and Multi-faith Women’s Empowerment Council and Sharaka, a US-based non-government group.

“Yes, I am in Jerusalem with a delegation to promote interfaith harmony,” Nasim Ashraf, the head of the delegation, said. He refused to give any further details about other members of the delegation. Nasim Ashraf used to be Pakistan’s development minister and the chairman of the Pakistani Cricket Board (PCB).

The trip comes more than three months after journalist Ahmed Quraishi, who also travelled to Jerusalem to promote interfaith harmony, was taken off the air by Pakistan Television after his visit.

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