Middle East, Asia - Pacific

We cannot recognize Israel: Pakistani leader

'Situation in Kashmir is exactly same situation in Palestine,' says Imran Khan

Burak Bir, Havva Kara Aydın   | 07.01.2021
We cannot recognize Israel: Pakistani leader Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

ANKARA

The defining situation in Palestine is "exactly the same situation" in Indian-administrated Kashmir, Pakistan's prime minister said Wednesday, stressing that his country cannot recognize Israel and what Israel has done to Palestine. 

In an interview with a Turkish television station, Imran Khan said there are two reasons why Pakistan cannot recognize Israel.

"The situation in Kashmir is exactly the same situation in Palestine. If we recognize Israel’s takeover of Palestine territories, then we also have to recognize what India has done in Kashmir, so we completely lose moral standing," he said.

On the second reason, which he prefaced with "much more importantly," he recalled Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan's policy regarding the issue, who said that unless injustice done to the people of Palestine is removed and unless the people of Palestine are given their homeland, Pakistan cannot recognize Israel.

Responding to a question on Islamophobia in the West, Khan said there are Western leaders who have exacerbated Islamophobia since they do not understand how Muslims feel about Prophet Muhammad and the Holy Quran.

Israel and the UAE signed a US-sponsored deal last September to normalize their relations, a move that was followed by Bahrain and Sudan and recently Morocco.

The normalization agreements have drawn widespread condemnations from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.

'Evolution of Islamophobia'

"I saw the evolution of Islamophobia in Western countries," he stated, referring to his education period in the UK.

Stressing the "gap of misunderstanding" between Muslim societies and Western societies on the Islamophobia issue, he said the Muslim leadership should have played a more active role in explaining how Muslims prioritize their religion, the holy book, and the prophet.

"We, heads of Muslim states, should stress on the world boards in the EU, UN, world forums, we should stress what the Muslim world feels for a prophet, and we should explain to them that please do not use freedom of speech and make caricatures of the prophet because it causes immense pain," he said, responding to a question on how Islamophobia would end in Western societies.

Touching on ties between Turkey and Pakistan, Khan recalled the "historical linkage" between the two countries and said they will not forget the support and help Turkey has given to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region in the Himalayas, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.

Mentioning that his relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is based on common values, he stressed that trade is one of the issues that the two countries could increase.

"Turkey has just become a force since Erdogan took power," Khan said, referring to the transformation of Turkey during Erdogan's time like Malaysia did with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

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