U.S., Another Country 'Pressuring Pakistan to Recognize Israel,' Says PM Imran Khan

Pakistan premier said it's because of 'Israel's deep impact in the United States' but refused to answer if Gulf States were also pushing Islamabad

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Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin SalmanCredit: Saudi Press Agency

>> How Saudi Arabia is pressuring Pakistan to recognize Israel

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said the United States and at least one other country are pressuring Pakistan to formally recognize Israel.

Khan said in a televised interview last week that his country would not consider normalization with Israel unless there is a just solution with the Palestinians.

As reported by Pakistan's The Express Tribune, Khan said "the pressure is because of Israel's deep impact in the United States. This was in fact extraordinary during Trump's stint.”

Asked whether Muslim countries have been pressuring Pakistan, Khan replied "Leave this. There are things we cannot say." Khan then referred to Pakistan's economic dependence on certain countries. "We have good relations with them," he said, without naming the countries. "Let us stand on our own feet in terms of economy, then you may ask these questions,” Khan answered.

Israel has recently signed normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan – three countries that broke with the Arab consensus on the subject, which was that ties with Israel should be predicated on the creation of a Palestinian state. The deals were brokered by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Referring to the legacy of the country's founding father Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Khan said he will follow his policy. "I have no second thought to recognize Israel unless there is a just settlement, which satisfies Palestinians.”

Khan also addressed Islamabad's future relations with President-elect Joe Biden, saying he does not believe there will be a fundamental change in policy regarding Afghanistan, but that "the real issue is Israel. It is to be seen how he deals with that. Whether he changes Trump's policies or continues with them."

On Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas thanked Khan for his comments. “We highly appreciate your adherence to your positions in support of the Palestinian people to obtain their legitimate rights,” Abbas said in the letter.

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