LONDON/ISLAMABAD/ISTANBUL: As a special guest and speaker for the Turkey-based Parliamentarians for Al Quds, Senator Mushahid Hussain, who also serves as the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate of Pakistan argued why Pakistan would not establish diplomatic ties with Israel and explained how the issues of Kashmir and Palestine were “inextricably intertwined”.
Negating rumours of surreptitious meetings between Pakistani and Israeli officials which spread up on both Pakistani and Israeli media, Senator Mushahid Hussain reiterated the stance of the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi upon his return from UAE, saying that unless a two state solution could be implemented, Pakistan could not accept Israel.
Senator Mushahid Hussain linked Pakistan’s stance on Palestine with the genesis of Pakistan, citing Jinnah’s views regarding the right to self determination for Palestinians.
The honourable senator, who has also interviewed Yasser Arafat, founder of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation said: “Pakistan’s support for Palestine is a testament of Muslim solidarity. As a nation, we have a history of supporting anti imperialist movements whether it was in Algeria, Eritrea or Palestine.
“Pakistan is the only non Arab country which has participated in 2 Arab Israel wars, in the 1967 war. Pakistani pilot Saif ul Azam fought as a pilot of Jordan Air Force and shot down 3 Israeli planes. In October 1973, during the Arab Israeli war, group captain Sattar Ali shot down an Israeli Mirage plane.”
Senator Mushahid Hussain added despite pressure from certain countries, Pakistan did not accept Israel and that Pakistan’s support for the Palestinian cause was not dependent on the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) or the Arab league.
“The first time PLO received international recognition was in 1974, in Lahore, before the Arab League. Pakistan’s Palestine policy is not dependent on the OIC or Arab league,” the honourable senator concluded.
He further stated that there was a broad national consensus across all party lines on four causes which include Palestinian rights, Kashmiri rights, Pakistan’s nuclear programme and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Calling Israeli PM Netanyahu and Indian PM Modi “ideological cousins, with the same fascist mindset which embodies an Islamophobic worldview”, Senator Mushahid narrated three reasons why Pakistan’s couldn’t recognise Israel.
“The first reason is the legacy of Jinnah. Support for Palestine is linked with the genesis of Pakistan. This is not about any quid pro quo but a principled position.
“We also strongly believe in the right to self determination for the Palestinian people which is enshrined in the United Nations charter.”
Senator Mushahid Hussain further added that the issue of Kashmir and Palestine were “inextricably intertwined” since both were issues of unfilled resolutions and forced demographic changes which made a minority a majority.
When this correspondent asked the honourable senator whether Pakistan would be better able to lobby for the Palestinian cause using official diplomatic channels if relations were established, Senator Mushahid answered: “That would be theoretically the case if Israel was open to reason, to discuss the demands, and what are the demands? That UN resolutions are implemented and Palestinian people be given the right of self-determination under a two-state solution.
“Today that view has been rejected. Today they are not only occupying the territory since they had occupied since 1947 but they are annexing that. They annexed Jerusalem, they annexed Golan Heights, Gaza is an occupied territory.”
Senator Mushahid Hussain said that accepting Israel would mean surrendering and accepting Israel’s occupation.