Pakistan says it will not recognise Israel amid rumoured US, Saudi pressure

©Al-Araby Al-Jadeed

Pakistan's ruling party on Sunday said the country will not recognise Israel, amid rumours of pressure by the US and its Gulf allies for it to normalise ties with the country.

"Pakistan will not recognise Israel until we get a just and fair settlement according to the will of the people of Palestine & resolutions of the UN," said Prime Minister Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf party on Twitter.

Separately, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, the official spokesman for Islamabad's foreign ministry tweeted: "On Int'l Day of solidarity with #Palestinian people, Pakistan reiterates its steadfast supports to Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination."

Both statements appear to hit back at questions over whether Pakistan would join Arab allies UAE and Bahrain who established full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Early this month, Prime Minister Khan told local media "Israel's deep influence in the US" had been behind pressure on Islamabad to follow suit, something he said was salient "during the Trump sting".

When asked whether a "brotherly Muslim country" had contributed to the pressure - a phrase observers believed to mean key Islamabad ally Saudi Arabia - he said:

"There are certain things we cannot say because we have good relations with [countries] and we do not wish to upset them," Khan said.

"God willing, let our country stand on its own two feet and then you can ask me such questions," Khan added.

Media reports on Khan's statements were called a "fabrication" by government social media accounts, a move possibly linked to Pakistan's dependence on Gulf states - in particular Saudi Arabia - for financial aid.

The country's powerful military establishment, which has the say in foreign policy matters, has strong links with its Saudi counterpart and has supported proxies in the kingdom's regional conflicts, including in Yemen.

The army has also allegedly maintained decades-long informal relations with Israel, which includes intelligence collaboration.

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