All the Facts of Israel Pakistan Trade Controversy. If you’re not aware of this fact that Pakistan doesn’t recognize Israel. It is clearly written on every Pakistani passport, “This Passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel.” The Pakistani state doesn’t recognize the existence of the State of Israel. Israel’s existence is an undeniable truth. However, the reason for this mention in passport has a background. The same background results in holding of only secret meetings between the government functionaries of both countries.
Pakistani officials have always denied the meetings publicly. However, Israeli authorities would openly share any occurrence of meetings. In the past, these meetings have occurred at the highest levels of the state. For instance, there were high level meetings of senior Israeli officials with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in his tenure. However, they were denied or at least not claimed to have happen in the public life.
This hesitance is due to Pakistani government’s view of Israel’s invasion of Palestinian lands. Most of the countries in the Muslim World have resorted to boycott of Israel for several decades. However, some major gulf nations and leading Islamic countries have began establishing diplomatic, trade and cultural ties with Israeli state.
However, there is a strong public reaction against any attempt of establishing ties with Israel. In the past, even military dictators and strongest political rulers had no ability to accept any private meeting with the Israeli authorities. There have been some attempts to calm down the public pressure against Israel but it did not help.
Israel Pakistan Trade Statistics
The key question is if Israel Pakistan trade ties exist? Well, if we see the statistics, the Israel-Pakistan trade ties have existed for several years. The trade ties between Pakistan and Israel can be traced back to year 2001 at least with proven statistics and datasets. For instance, Pakistani exports were worth $3.31 million in the year 2001 and there has been continuous trade activities between the two countries since then. The latest and most recent transaction between the two countries stands at $2.92 million in 2021.
The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) is an online data visualization and distribution platform focused on the geography and dynamics of economic activities. The OEC integrates and distributes data from a variety of sources to empower analysts in the private sector, public sector, and academia.
On Israel-Pakistan trade, it shares that the main products that Pakistan exported to Israel in 2021 are Knit Gloves costing $531k, Non-Knit Men’s Suits amounting to $291k, and Synthetic Filament Yarn Woven Fabric at $285k. The total exports of Pakistan to Israel stood at $2.92 million in 2021.
Interestingly, Pakistan has also been an importer of Israeli products. For instance, Israel exported broadcasting equipment and other measuring instruments to Pakistan in 2021. Israeli exports stood at $6,000 in 2021. By all means, it is the best case scenario for Pakistan as the balance of trade is in favor of Pakistan.
Similarly, Israel Exports to Pakistan stood at $26,000 during 2022 derived from United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade. Trading Economics shares that Israel has exported medical apparatus, precious metal compounds, electronic equipment, plastics, machinery, nuclear reactors, fertilizers and a number of other products to Pakistan since 2001.
The following is the product wise trade volume between Israel and Pakistan for every year since 2010:
Israel Pakistan Trade Controversy
It is clear that the trade ties between Israel and Pakistan remain intact since 2001. The two countries have been engaged in imports and exports of different products. However, the issue was always put under the carpet as soon it would get highlighted in the mainstream media. The public outcry will soon end up and things would return to normal. However, the trade ties between Israel and Pakistan always existed.
However, the recent controversy on Israel Pakistan trade ties is a bit different. There is more of a political and sentimental angle of the present controversy. So, let us see what happened with the trade taking place in 2023.
Fishel BenKhald is a Pakistani citizen from Sindh with a Jewish background. He is engaged in the business of Kosher food industry. He has been a strong proponent of trade ties between Israel and Pakistan.
On March 28, 2023, Fishel claimed to export first batch of food products from Pakistan, i.e. Dates, Dry Fruit & Spice. He congratulated himself on being a Pakistani and able to export Pakistani products to Israel.
Congratulation to Me as a Pakistani
I exported first batch of Pakistan 🇵🇰 food products to Israel 🇮🇱 market
— Fishel BenKhald (@Jew_Pakistani) March 28, 2023
Well, it was fine until then. The news was limited to the social media platforms where almost all of the users were congratulating Fishel. Many Pakistani users asked him for giving contact details or looking for establishing trade ties with Israel.
How one can reach out Israel market. Specialy for medicines
— Nasir kamal (@onenallai) March 28, 2023
But, the mainstream media picked it up.
Controversy on Israel Pakistan Trade
On March 30, Voice of America ran a story titled, Rare Trade Occurs Between Pakistan, Israel. It gave a perception that the formal trade had occurred between Israel and Pakistan. Meanwhile, the American Jewish Congress (AJC) also released a “Statement on Trade between the State of Israel and Pakistan.” Overall, this statement only welcomed the small step at an individual level by Fishel BenKhald and some merchants from Jerusalem and Haifa.
Yet, the same were treated as some official trade channel has begun between Israel and Pakistan. The issue was further politicized by the opposition parties without knowing the actual facts. Many of Pakistani politicians and religious scholars came up with statements against trade ties between the two countries.
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Resultantly, there was public outcry and social media backlash against the government for initiating trade ties with Israel. Little does anyone know that this entire transaction was conducted in an indirect manner. There was no direct role of Pakistani government in it. The AJC statement is also a testament to it:
Facts of Latest Israel Pakistan Trade
The actual facts of the latest transaction are simple. The shipment of Pakistan-origin food products was offloaded in Israel through a private transaction of Pakistani-Jewish businessman Fishel Benkhald. The deal was made in the United Arab Emirates. The shipment was also booked from United Arab Emirates, and not from Pakistan.
Israel had removed the restriction of import license for Pakistani products in 2005. So, there was no need for any special licenses or permits to conduct this trade. Moreover, the shipment from Pakistan was marked for UAE and not Israel. Thus, the entire controversy is based on fake news and propaganda only.
Moreover, the Government of Pakistan has officially refuted all claims related to the beginning of trade activities with Israel.