Pakistan had clandestine links with Israel for the last decade:

ISLAMABAD, September 06 (Online): Making an other important revelation Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri Monday disclosed that Pakistan had clandestine contacts with Israel for last one decade but made it clear that this was first time that Pakistan had openly shook hands with Jewish state.

He stated this while talking to journalists following the standing committee on foreign affairs meeting in Islamabad.

The minister said the purpose of contact with Israel means to strengthen our lobby in the existing scenarios.

Lauding Israeli withdrawal from the Ghaza strip, Kasuri said we appreciate Israel's withdrawal from the Ghaza strip but adding the time is not yet come to recognize Israel. "If Israel is moving forward in this connection and the dream of a sovereign Palestinian state comes true then Pakistan can also reconsider its decision regarding Israel recognition", he added.

To a question, he said meeting between Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf and Israeli Prime Minister Arial Sharon is not yet determined however he added meeting between Musharraf and Manmohan Singh would be held on September 14. "Both leaders would discuss all issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir in their meeting", he added.

Kasuri further said he briefed the standing committee regarding his meeting with Israeli foreign minister in detail.

Meanwhile National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs has expressed its reservations over the step of government of Pakistan in not taking the committee into confidence over Pakistan-Israel foreign ministers meeting in Istanbul and directed the government to take all steps regarding important national matters after consultations with the NA body.

Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri updated the committee about the latest situation in the meeting held under the chairmanship of Dr Farooq Sattar, MNA in the Parliament House on Monday.

Federal Minister informed the committee that there was no change in Pakistan's position on Israel but it wanted to play a positive role for the resolution of the Palestinian dispute based on justice and equality.

He further said that his meeting with Israeli foreign minister was no way recognition of Israel and any decision in this regard would be taken in the supreme national interest after the due consultations and taking the parliament into confidence.

Mr Kasuri also briefed the committee about the latest situation in South Asia and the recent talks between foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India at Islamabad where wide range of issues including the Jammu and Kashmir issue were discussed.

He was confident that talks between both Pakistan and India are for amicable solution of all outstanding disputes.

The committee directed the government to bring a spree in its efforts for solution of an early solution of Jammu and Kashmir issue and urged it not to show unilateral flexibility over Kashmir.

Later on talking to a group of newsman Mr Sattar said we have directed the government to speed up its efforts for Kashmir solution and should not show unilateral flexibility over the issue as Indian has not moved an inch from its stance over the dispute.

Mr Kasuri informed the committee that it is Pakistan who has filed its case on Kashmir and it is also important that Indian is made part of the composite dialogue process.

Mr Sattar said we have directed the government to take the committee into confidence over all important national matters.

The committee, he said has also expressed its satisfaction on the recent developments and said Pakistan today is in a position to play its role in view of its growing stature in the international community and in the Ummah.

The foreign minister also told us that Pakistan had secret links with Israel for last decade, however these relations were disclosed in the backdrop of improving international scenarios.

Moreover, As a follow-up of recent interaction between Israeli and Pakistani foreign ministers in Istanbul, Islamabad would soon send its senior officials led by a central minister to Tel Aviv to promote 'diplomatic' ties with the Jewish state, Middle East Study Centre quoted a statement of Tel Aviv based International Organization of Jews as disclosing on Monday.

However, the Centre would not name the minister.

The Centre also disclosed President General Pervez Musharraf had a covert interaction with a noted Jewish figure in Islamabad two months ago.

In the meeting, the president feared he would have to face a public backlash at home if he allowed diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Israel.

"General Musharraf, however promised Islamabad would gradually advance towards formal Pak-Israel ties", the Centre said.

The Centre claimed Musharraf had allowed Pakistani Christians to visit al-Quds.

Pakistan is a Muslim majority state, with a population of more than 10 million Christians.

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