When Pak-Israel Meet Sent Whole Istanbul in Darkness


SRINAGAR: Former Pakistan Foreign Minister, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri has revealed that he had held a  meeting with his Israeli counterpart. 

According to Kasuri, “the meeting was arranged a bit like a 007 Bond film. I landed secretly in Libya in a special plane and then went to Malta and from there to Turkey. When I landed in Istanbul, (Then Prime Minister) Erdogan sent his close confidante to receive me at the tarmac. There was absolute darkness. Lest any intelligence agency gets whiff of my presence, the lights of Istanbul were switched off. The news, if leaked, would have created hell in Pakistan and elsewhere..”

 The secrecy surrounding the visit is not surprising; even though both Israel and Pakistan share the genesis and formation as ideological and religious states, relations between  them have been tense and stand offish for obvious reasons- the Jewish- Muslim divide. 

Despite the nature of the relationship between the two countries, there have been instances of covert contact between the two.

 However, the Kasuri meeting with his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom was notable and singular; it occurred against the back drop of the churn that the September 11 attacks rendered world politics and a ‘course correction’ and ‘review’ by the Pakistani state thereof. This review entailed ‘normal’ relations with arch rival India and some kind of a settlement over Kashmir.

But as things stand now, nothing of import or significance besides the meeting happened.

The meeting was held in Istanbul, Turkey which had good relations with Israel then but this relationship gradually turned sour.

 The quid pro quo that Pakistan apparently was seeking for recognition of Israel was the recognition of a Palestinian state.

 This did not happen despite the propitious circumstances around that time.

 Fast forward a decade, regional politics is back to square one with Palestine and the occupied territories flaring up again and India and Pakistan locked into an almost apocalyptic conflict.


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