Pakistan and Israel: Across the Divide

When Pakistan and Israel, self-proclaimed champions of two mutually hostile world religions, publicly announced their ‘engagement’ in Istanbul early last month, many rushed to judge it as historic. Yet for most seasoned Pakistan- watchers, aware that informal contacts had been in train since the late 1980s, it came as no surprise. For them the more pertinent question is: why now?

The World Today Published 1 October 2005 Updated 15 October 2020 2 minute READ

The problem about making the talks public, it appears, lay less with Israel than with Pakistan. Israeli officials had pressed hard for past meetings to be publicised as a means of easing their country’s diplomatic isolation. Pakistani officials, however, insisted that they needed more time to prepare public opinion at home. They claimed that any rapprochement with ‘Jewish Israel’ would be seen to compromise Pakistan’s commitment to the ‘Muslim cause’ in Palestine.

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