Pakistan state TV anchor terminated over Israel visit, says minister


Marriyum Aurangzeb speaks during a news conference in Islamabad. File

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Monday that Pakistan Television (PTV) has terminated the services of one of its anchorpersons who was part of a Pakistani-American delegation that visited Israel earlier this month, media reports said.

“The PTV anchor has been terminated and taken off air. He went on the tour in a personal capacity,” she was quoted as saying by Pakistan Television.

Aurangzeb was also quoted as saying that there was no change in Pakistan’s policy with regards to Israel. “Pakistan’s policy on Palestine is clear and based on the statements of our founder Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah,” she said.

She went on to say that a policy which was in contradiction with the people’s wishes and aspirations could not be implemented. The minister said that Pakistan was committed to its traditional and principled position on the Palestinian issue and Israel.

The removal of the anchorperson came a day after Israeli President confirmed a meeting with a delegation of Pakistani expatriates which he termed as “an amazing experience,” Express Tribune reported.

An Israeli media outlet, Haaretz, had reported that a 15-member delegation, led by two civil society groups, visited Israel in order to promote interfaith harmony, primarily between Muslims and Jews. The trip was organised by the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Council and an NGO called Sharaka.

The delegation included American-Pakistanis, a British Pakistani, and a Pakistani journalist, among others. The anchorperson had entered Israel on his Pakistani passport, making it the first-ever trip of its kind.

The visit was criticised by many, especially the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership, which had alleged that the government wanted to recognise Israel.

During a rally in Charsadda, former prime minister Imran Khan had said that “slaves of the US” in the government would do everything that had been ordered to them, Express Tribune reported.

However, the Foreign Office and the government distanced themselves from the visit, saying it was arranged by an NGO which was not based out of Pakistan.

It added that Islamabad’s position on the Palestinian issue was “clear and unambiguous” and there was no change whatsoever “in our policy” towards the Jewish state, the report said.




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