LONDON/ISLAMABAD: Burgeoning filmmaker and analyst Miss Cynthia D Ritchie said that Pakistan is evolving and should at least consider opening up diplomatic ties with Israel in an exclusive interview with The Pakistan Daily.
While making it clear that, “both Palestine and Kashmir should receive a just chance for the right to live peacefully, and especially self-determination in Kashmir’s case”, Ms Ritchie raised the question over who gained from the discord between Pakistan and Israel.
“We must ask these questions: who doesn’t want normal relations with anyone – Israel included – and why?”, Cynthia Ritchie said who is known for commenting on Pakistani affairs.
More recently, journalists and anchors considered close to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI) including Mubasher Lucman and Kamran Khan had called for the normalisation between the two hostile states.
Miss Ritchie wondered why Pakistan and Israel didn’t enjoy a friendly relationship regardless of a history of cooperation.
Pakistan and Israel do not presently enjoy any diplomatic relations but after the UAE and Saudi Arabia are cosying up to Israel, it is expected by some quarters that Pakistan will follow suit.
Miss Cynthia Ritchie held that ultimately, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan must make his own decision about Pakistan’s relations with Israel despite any pressure.
“For now, at least, Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have some of the closest of what has been referred to as ‘brotherly bonds’. Americans also have great influence in this particular political triumvirate,” Ms Ritchie said, reflecting the dynamics of the trilateral relationship between Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United States.
Commenting on the possible backlash by extremist elements if Pakistan initiated terms with Israel, Ms Ritchie held that, “for too long have the extremist Wahhabism been in defacto control and perhaps even subverted mainstream Sunni Islam.
“This naturally creates divisions. While some of this extremism is true, the majority of Sunnis and Shias I know get along well.”
Ms Ritchie suggested that Pakistan should have a balanced and healthy relationship with the US, Iran, Turkey and Russia.
Historically, nations have had independent relationships with other countries, even if some of those nations don’t get along with each other.
“Considering the circumstances, any compromise, on Prime Minister Khan’s part, should include a big goal that is to the benefit to most parties at the table,” Cynthia Ritchie said, highlighting the fact that Pakistan needed to consider its own gains and benefits while making the decision.
Speaking on India’s ambitions to be a superpower, Ms Ritchie said, “India has aspirations of being its own global superpower. It will never be a true ally of the USA. Perhaps its ties with the UK are stronger. But we all see what’s happening with Brexit.”
“China has made its global impression through the One Belt One Road initiative, and CPEC. And while this is certainly welcome for many, more balance is required globally for Pakistan to thrive in its own unique standing in the world,” Cynthia Ritchie told The Pakistan Daily.
Miss Ritchie added that she had several friends who were Israeli or worked for the Government of Israel. “They are good people, with incredible talents that Pakistan can benefit from – especially in the IT and healthcare sector”.
“It’s time to set aside these antiquated views of Zionism, etc. While there may be a few fixated on these matters, the vast majority of people want to get along. And I frankly believe an honest, open relationship with Israel will be helpful to Pakistan’s progress for the future,” Miss Ritchie concluded.