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Pakistani journalist who visited Israel fired by state broadcaster

The controversy grew this week soon after the opposition party PTI led by ousted prime minister Imran Khan accused the government of trying to attempt to normalize ties with Israel, which remains an extremely emotive issue in the Muslim country of 220 million people. 

Jun 01, 2022
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Pakistani journalist who visited Israel fired by state broadcaster (Photo: Dawn)

A Pakistan journalist working with the state broadcaster PTV was sacked after his visit to Israel as part of a delegation of Pakistani Americans triggered the latest political controversy in Pakistan. Marriyum Aurangzeb, the country’s information minister, confirmed his termination and said there was no change regarding Pakistan’s policy towards Israel.

Ahmed Quraishi was part of a 15-member delegation of Pakistani expatriates that traveled to Israel earlier this month, organizer Anila Ali, a Pakistani-born US citizen living in Washington, confirmed to the media.

“Our trip had nothing to do with Pakistan and everything to do with Muslim Jewish peacemaking,” Ali was quoted as saying by Geo TV.

The controversy grew this week soon after the opposition party PTI led by ousted prime minister Imran Khan accused the government of trying to attempt to normalize ties with Israel, which remains an extremely emotive issue in the Muslim country of 220 million people. 

The purpose of the trip, she said, was to “see the Abraham Accords in action,” and there was no connection between the trip with the Pakistan government and the US government.

Khan’s PTI claimed that the visit was part of the "foreign conspiracy" that saw the ouster of his government in April. However, Anila claimed that the former PTI government was aware of the visit and had even tacit approval.

Aurangzeb, the information minister, clarified the sacked journalist’s visit to Israel was in his personal capacity and that it had nothing to do with the government or its policies.

Reacting to his sacking, Ahmed told Middle East Eye that the PTI and the government were "united in chastising a journalist doing his professional work outside Pakistan, one that has no relevance to Pakistan or the country's Middle East policies".

"I am disappointed by the announcement and the way it was done - designed to exact public humiliation during [the] government's main briefing of the day by the information minister," he was quoted as saying by Middle East Eye.

Terming the move “ridiculous and worrying”, he said the government was punishing him just for doing his job.

(SAM)

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