Former Pakistani government minister visits Israel

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ISLAMABAD (AFP) – A delegation of Pakistanis, including a former government minister, met with officials at the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on Wednesday, the group’s leader and tour organizers said.

Pakistan is among the countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel due to the outstanding issue of Palestinian statehood and says that no government delegation has visited Israel.

The trip organizer says the delegation also included representatives from American Muslims, the Interfaith Women’s Empowerment Council, and Partnership, a US-based nongovernmental group established in the wake of the Abraham Accords, brokered by the Trump administration in 2020 and the normalization of relations. Between Israel and four Arab countries – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

“Yes, I am in Jerusalem with a delegation to promote interfaith harmony,” Nassim Ashraf, the head of the delegation, told The Associated Press by phone, declining to give any further details about the other members of the delegation. Pakistani Minister of Development and Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board.

The trip comes more than three months after Pakistani television journalist Ahmed Qureshi, who also traveled to Jerusalem to promote interfaith harmony, was suspended on air after his visit.

Anila Ali, a Pakistani-born American citizen who lives in the United States and is one of the tour’s organizers, told the Associated Press that Ashraf was in Jerusalem to promote interfaith harmony.

It urged Pakistan to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in its national interest.

She said that Turkey was a good example for Pakistan, where the Turkish leadership established diplomatic relations with Israel for its own national interest. “If Turkey can do it, why can’t we?” she asked.

Ali said Israel could guide Pakistan and help it improve the country’s irrigation system in the wake of recent floods that have caused 1,569 deaths since mid-June.

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