Saturday, September 17, 2005

Facing up to reality

Pakistani writer Irfan Husain gives clear-eyed, sober arguments in favor of relations with Israel. -Hat tip: Zorkie at Discarded Lies.

Presently, our official position is that we would recognise Israel when it vacates the West Bank and a Palestinian state comes into being. But what kept us from normalising ties with the Jewish state between 1948 and 1967, the year in which it occupied Gaza and the West Bank? For nearly 20 years, we referred to Israel as 'the illegal Zionist entity', although it came into being with the blessings of the United Nations...

Even the poor, illiterate silent majority realise that Israel is a reality that has come to stay, whether Pakistan recognises it or not. Hence their indifference to the religious right's ineffectual protests. Musharraf's formative years were spent in Turkey and have clearly influenced him. Although for perceived political gains, he chooses to hobnob with the mullahs, he is clearly a secular person who would, by choice, separate the affairs of the state from religion. It is Pakistan's loss that for the sake of expedience, he does not to act according to his personal instincts.

At the end of the day, we cannot forever subordinate our policies to suit other nations. The fact is that we have no territorial dispute with Israel. Diplomatically and strategically, we ignore its existence to our peril. Foreign policy should be conducted on the basis of cold calculation and pragmatism, and not be motivated by idealism and ideology.

Read the whole thing, here.


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