Pak government sacks state TV presenter after backlash over Israel visit

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After a backlash, the Pakistani government on Monday terminated a presenter associated with state television after he visited Israel as part of a delegation and met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

Although the visit was not official, it came under fierce attack from various hawkish politicians and right-wing groups.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) presenter Ahmad Quraishi, who was part of the delegation of Pakistani-Americans visiting Israel earlier this month, been fired.

“The PTV presenter was fired and taken off the air. He did the tour in a personal capacity,” she told the state broadcaster.

PTV also shared a political statement from Marriyum which said there was no change in Pakistan’s policy towards Israel.

“Pakistan’s policy on Palestine is clear,” she said.

She said the world sees the two-state solution as a guarantee of lasting peace in the region. The minister said the promise of a Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders and with Jerusalem as its capital should be kept.

Dawn reported that the visit was also attacked in the Senate where Senator Mushtaq Ahmad of the Jamaat-i-Islami asked the government to clarify its position on the matter, as well as the identification of the citizens who made the trip.

“One of them is associated with PTV and has worked on major Pakistani military projects,” he said, adding that a ban should be imposed on the NGO that organized the visit. The citizenship of those who have been to Israel should be revoked, he demanded.

Justice Minister Azam Nazir Tarar maintained that there had been no change in Pakistan’s policy towards Israel. Pakistan does not recognize Israel as a state and no official visit has taken place, he said, adding that it was a serious matter.

On Sunday, the Foreign Ministry made it clear that no delegation from the country had visited Israel and also rejected any delegation from Pakistan visiting Israel.

During a special address at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on May 26 in Davos, Israeli President Herzog said he recently received a delegation of Pakistani-Americans in the Jewish state. , calling it an “incredible experience”.

Pakistan and Israel do not have official diplomatic relations.

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