In response to a Jewish businessman’s tweet about successfully transporting food samples to Jerusalem and Haifa, Pakistan on Sunday refuted reports of trade with Israel.
A Pakistani-Jewish resident of the southern port city of Karachi named Fishel Benkhald gained notoriety after tweeting about his first shipment of kosher food to Israel. There are no diplomatic ties between the two nations.
Salutations from a Pakistani to me. He claimed last week, “I exported the first batch of Pakistani food products to the Israeli market.
A video clip of Benkhald visiting an Israeli market was posted online. He passes by stalls with Hebrew labels on canisters of dates, dried fruit, and spices.
Pakistan denies having any kind of business or diplomatic ties to Israel. In answer to questions from the media regarding bilateral trade, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry, stated: “There is no change in the policy.”
Pakistan has long held the position that it will not recognize Israel until an independent Palestinian state has been founded within the pre-1967 boundaries, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Pakistan officially supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Rumors of bilateral trade, according to Pakistan’s Commerce Minister, are “sheer misinformation.”
It added that it “neither has any trade relations with Israel nor does it seek to do so.”
In 2017, Benkhald, a member of the nation’s 220 million Muslim majorities and decreasing Jewish community, successfully converted from Judaism to Islam.
He is the first Pakistani to have formally undertaken a pilgrimage there with the approval of Islamabad, despite a statement on his Pakistani passport that claims the document is authorized for travel to all nations barring Israel.
“Trade, music, tourism, and food bind people together. Let’s create connections, Benkhald wrote in his tweet.
According to the Commerce Ministry, Benkhald delivered food samples to three business people in Jerusalem and Haifa via the United Arab Emirates, where he had previously met them at food fairs.
The shipment was not authorized by the Pakistani government, according to the ministry, and no financial or official channels were utilized.
The American Jewish Congress had hailed the shipment’s news earlier, noting that it might have more significant economic ramifications for both countries and the entire area.
It claimed that Benkhald was central to a modest but rapidly expanding Pakistani kosher food export business.
Yet, perceptions of Benkhald’s endeavor in Pakistan varied. Shireen Mazari, a prominent member of the former prime minister Imran Khan’s political party and a former minister for human rights, blasted the administration and questioned how a Pakistani national could export to Israel directly and travel there on a Pakistani passport.
Benkhald was allowed to travel to Israel under Khan, according to Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, an interfaith spokesperson for the current administration.
Congratulation to Me as a Pakistani
I exported first batch of Pakistan 🇵🇰 food products to Israel 🇮🇱 market
— Fishel BenKhald (@Jew_Pakistani) March 28, 2023