Imran's dilemma: Formalising ties with Israel

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to expand his circle and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to join which is the simplest way to sum up the possibility of Pakistan normalising ties with Israel.

For the Israeli PM, the year couldn’t have ended on a better note. Netanyahu’s government has formalised ties with four Arab countries – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morrocco including Bhutan.

Direct flights now connect Israel with Arab countries. It will open the door to another country.  For Netanyahu, it means another feather on his hat. No matter how bad that feather may be.

Israel doesn’t have to change its policies vis-a-vis Palestine. So, Netanyahu gets to eat the cake and have it too. Apparently, Imran Khan is under pressure or so he said on live television. 

Imran Khan also claims to be the true leader of the Muslim world, he will lose that card and Pakistan will also lose Iran’s support. Unlike Riyadh, Tehran had backed Imran Khan’s Kashmir drama but Pakistan has a history of being ungrateful.

It now wants to lean on Saudi Arabia again, by doing so Imran Khan stands to lose the support of Turkey. Not just support, Turkey’s vote in the FATF.

Gulf countries are looking to diversify their wealth with the region trying to cope with a new oil order. They are looking at long-term allies like India and looking for investment opportunities – not-liabilities like Pakistan.

In the last few months, Imran Khan has already lost support at home and abroad. He has sold his country to the Chinese, now he is gambling with Pakistan’s morality. The public won’t spare him neither will hardline Islamists a lot of whom already despise Imran Khan.

The Pakistani prime minister had previously said he thought it was pointless that Arab countries were signing deals with Israel, if he signs one himself the captain will score his homerun of blunders. Imran Khan will lose support at home, allies abroad, not to mention his face.

For long, Pakistan has tried to falsely equate the Palestinian cause to what it claims struggle in Kashmir. Israel sells weapons and technology but Pakistan does not have the money to buy anything.

For Imran Khan, it isn’t so much about formalising ties with Israel as it is about rebuilding ties with West Asia – a region that Pakistan has fallen out with and has snubbed Pakistan’s military general.

West Asia sees India as a strategic partner, Pakistan wants to make up to them. They plan to set up embassies, chalk out bilateral trade and cooperation.

It would ensure better days for Israel’s tourism sector and ample avenues to rebuild an economy hammered by the Wuhan virus and normalising ties with Pakistan wouldn’t hurt.


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