Palestine and the Foreign Policy of Pakistan


Pakistan has been supporting the rights of the Palestinian people and backing their struggle is an important part of its foreign policy. Pakistan continued support to the people of Palestine. No plan changing the status of Jerusalem is acceptable to Pakistan. The people of Palestine will not accept any decision except for the two-state solution.

Historically, Pakistan has developed the bilateral relationship between Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority. Palestine has an embassy in Islamabad which was inaugurated on 31 January 2017. Pakistan fully supports the proposal of the creation of an independent Palestinian state.  Bilateral relations between Pakistan and Israel have continuously wavered over the last few years due to Pakistan’s pro-Palestine stance. Former President Musharraf stated that Pakistan will recognize Israel once a Palestinian state is internationally recognized. Pakistan frequently provides edible and non-edible aid to Palestinian Authority.

Pakistan supports the creation of a State that strongly emphasizes the pre-1967 borders. Pakistan and Palestinian Authority have a very close and political relationship. During the 1948 Palestine War (1947–1949), Israel’s diplomatic mission in Washington received information that Pakistan was trying to provide military assistance to the Arabs, including rumors that a Pakistani battalion would be sent to Palestine to fight alongside them. Pakistan bought 250,000 rifles in Czechoslovakia that apparently were meant for the Arabs. Also, it became known that Pakistan bought three planes in Italy for the Egyptians. The Pakistan Air-Force participated in the 1967 and 1973 Arab–Israeli wars, Pakistani pilots flying Jordanian and Syrian planes downed some Israeli planes, whereas in the 1982 battle for Beirut between Israel and the PLO, fifty Pakistani volunteers serving in the PLO were taken prisoner by Israel. After the 1973 war, Pakistan and the PLO signed an agreement for training PLO officers in Pakistani military institutions. Pakistan and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had developed close ties. The Palestine Liberation Organization was first recognized by Pakistan as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians at an Islamic summit in Lahore in February 1974. This was approved six months later at an Arab summit in Rabat. PLO missions in Karachi and Islamabad received full diplomatic recognition in 1975. Pakistan had supported and voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 in 1975 which had equated Zionism with racism. The resolution was revoked afterwards with Resolution 4686 but Pakistan voted against revoking it.  During the First Intifada that began in 1987, pro-PLO rallies were held in Pakistan and the government sent the organization food and medical supplies.

The Palestinian Declared its Independence on November 15, 1988. Pakistan recognized the Palestinian Authority on 16 November 1988 and had established full diplomatic relations with it by the end of 1989.

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas paid official visits to Pakistan in 2005 and 2013 during his tour of Asia. He met Pakistani leaders and made political talks regarding the situation of the Middle East and the peace process between Palestinian Authority and Israel. He also discussed about the developments in the occupied territories and the international efforts exerted so far to attain peace in the region, and to implement related agreements in addition to the support which Pakistan provides to the Palestinian Authority.

Pakistan has very clear foreign policy based on the UN Charter to support the right to self-determination of the Palestinians and against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Pakistan favours Palestine and justified demands of the Palestinian people. (by: Rabia Saghar)