The Ministry of Commerce issued a statement on Sunday denouncing rumors of trade between Pakistan and Israel as “sheer propaganda,” following the American Jewish Congress’s (AJC) misrepresentation of a statement. The association of the Jewish community based in the US had issued a press release that led to the spread of misinformation.
In the statement, the ministry asserted, “The rumors about the beginning of Pakistan-Israel trade is sheer propaganda after the press release of AJC, which was misrepresented.
However, we have no trade relations with Israel, nor do we intend to develop any.”
Pakistan does not have diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv and remains committed to the “two-state solution in accordance with the relevant United Nations and OIC resolutions as well as international law, with pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem) as the capital of Palestine.”
The Commerce Ministry’s statement was issued after Fishel Benkhald, a Jewish Pakistani, claimed on March 28 that he had “exported the first batch of Pakistan food products to the Israel market.”
The ministry’s statement serves as a reminder to the public to rely on official sources of information and to dismiss baseless claims and rumors.
After Jewish Pakistani businessman Fishel Benkhald claimed on March 28 that he had exported the first batch of Pakistani food products to Israel, the Ministry of Commerce issued a statement on April 2 to dispel rumors of Pakistan-Israel trade, terming them as “sheer propaganda.”
The ministry said that it did not have any trade relations with Israel and had no intentions of developing any, adding that the AJC’s press release was misrepresented.
Pakistan believes in a “two-state solution in accordance with the relevant United Nations and OIC resolutions as well as international law, with pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem) as the capital of Palestine.”
The AJC’s statement, released on March 30, welcomed the small step that could have wider implications for Israeli and Pakistani economies and for the region at large. Members of the opposition PTI demanded answers from the Foreign Office, asking if it was part of the “London Plan,” which was coined by party chief Imran Khan.
On April 1, Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Interfaith Harmony and the Middle East Tahir Ashrafi told state media that Benkhald was permitted to go to Israel by the PTI government.
The Ministry of Commerce clarified that the Pakistani-Jewish businessman had sent food samples to three businessmen in Jerusalem and Haifa through the UAE in a personal capacity.
The UAE has curtailed tariffs on 96% of goods traded with Israel, which has benefited traders from the UAE to Israel. It added that in its talks with the UAE, the “issue of origin will be strictly implemented.”
The incumbent government did not permit anyone to engage in any trade activities with Israel, said Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah. He promised to conduct an investigation into the matter.