‘A visit of some odd Pakistanis to Israel’

In the name of “Inter-Faith Harmony” a group of Pakistanis had recently visited Israel, the Zionist State we don’t recognise officially. Most people going there live abroad as dual-citizens. But one of them claims to be the “sole Jew” still left in our country who dared travel to Israel on a Pakistani passport, while declaring his religious identity on it.

Hardly a person might have noticed the said visit. But in the delegation, also included was a high profile Pakistani journalist, Mr Ahmad Qureshi. He is a highly energetic spin-doctor relishing enviable command over expressing himself, both in English and Arabic. The officially run PTV considers him a perfect messenger for articulating and promoting ‘the soft image’ of Pakistan to global audiences. His talents were originally discovered during the days of General Musharraf in the early 2000s and since then he has often been employed by the state institutions of Pakistan to deliver with pampering salary and perks.

The inclusion of this celebrity anchor duly recognised as the iconic promoter of Pakistan’s ‘soft image’ by ultimate “message handlers” of our state, ignited a huge controversy on social media. Dr Shireen Mazari, a hyper loyalist of Imran Khan, took the lead in spinning the accusatory story that the government replacing his leader, due to “American conspiracy,” had discreetly “approved” the said visit.

The overactive social media warriors of Imran Khan’s PTI eagerly owned the idea and flooded all possible platforms of message promotion to spread the story that the current government had approved and facilitated the controversial visit to please its “masters (read the Americans)”.

The Zealous followers of the former prime minister discussed the said visit as if affirming their claim that the Americans felt forced to remove Imran Khan through a dark conspiracy. After all, he had replied with a firm “absolutely not,” when a journalist asked him to commit whether he would facilitate the Americans to keep watching over Afghanistan, after withdrawing from that country by establishing a “base” in Pakistan.

Before the “absolutely not” story, Imran Khan’s spin-doctors had also been dropping heavy hints to suggest that through some “brotherly countries of the Middle East,” the Americans were pressurising the previous government to recognise Israel. Being a steadfast Muslim Nationalist, however, Imran Khan refused to budge.

Then too close to the submission of a vote of no-confidence against him, Imran Khan decided to visit Russia and meet its President. The day after his meeting, Russia launched a massive attack on Ukraine. That forced Washington to imagine that Imran Khan had gone to Russia with the insidious intent of encouraging President Putin to go for the final assault.

Such suspicions fueled the “enough is enough” feeling in Washington against Imran Khan. In anger, it quickly consulted its tried and tested book for “regime change.” Eventually, the scheme of removing Imran Khan from Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s office was designed and the “corrupt politicians crowding” our national assembly instantly agreed to execute it. Some powerful elements from the superior judiciary and the national security outfits also opted to act as “slavish facilitators.”

Imran Khan’s diehard supporters seriously feel that “Israel-friendly Americans” had asked for the said visit. By allegedly winking and nodding for it, the government “imposed by the Americans” furnished a sort of ‘payback.”

Personally, I consider the said story not more than a laughable and far-fetched stretch of a conspiracy theory. But a huge group of social media consumers had taken the same pretty seriously. No wonder at the outset of the Senate sitting Monday afternoon, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad of the Jamaat-e-Islami expressed deep anguish regarding some Pakistanis visit to Israel. Without naming Ahmad Qureshi, he also recalled his reputation of being too friendly to some powerful elements of our deep state.

Dr Wasim Shahzad, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate who also represents the PTI, stood in support of the JI Senator and went on and on to project the said visit as if clearly exposing the slavish conduct of the government, replacing Imran Khan. He kept stressing that Washington wants the government, installed through a conspiracy, to act submissively friendly to two historic enemy countries of Pakistan, India and Israel.

Azam Nazir Tarrar, the law minister, meekly offered Pakistan’s “historic position” vis-à-vis the Zionist State and continued humbly denying that the government he represents had anything to do with a controversial visit to Israel. Yet he also promised to inform the House after collecting more details of the said visit from the concerned departments and their officials.

I strongly believe that both the minister of interior and foreign affairs should have anticipated that during Monday’s sitting of the Senate, many of its members would raise embarrassing questions regarding some Pakistanis’ visit to Israel. Either of them should personally have come to the House to firmly scuttle the conspiracy theory, spun about the said visit. The defensive sounding tone and conduct of the law minister was not enough for demolishing dangerously building suspicions, ignited by a visit of some odd Pakistanis to Israel.

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