NEW YORK - Pakistan’s elected government has not followed up on the contacts established by former President Pervez Musharraf’s govt with the Jewish State, a senior Israel diplomat said on Thursday. ‘Sadly, none’, was how Mark Sofer, Israel‘s Ambassador to India, reacted when asked whether any contacts had taken place since Musharraf’s ouster. Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and Israel met in Istanbul in 2005 and Musharraf addressed a prominent Jewish organisation in New York the following year. Ambassador Sofer also said Pakistan could benefit a lot, especially in agriculture field, by establishing normal diplomatic relations with Israel.
‘Israel was ready to share its vast experience in the agricultural field with Pakistan and provide the technology Israeli engineers have developed to modernise agriculture and boost food production after two countries have normalised their relations’, he said.
The news briefing was arranged by the US-based ‘The Israel Project’, a non-governmental organisation with offices in the US and Israel, that works to improve Israel’s image. It was the first time that US-based Pakistani journalists were invited to an Israeli event. Sofer, who was responding to questions after dwelling on the ‘burgeoning’ Indo-Israeli relationship, especially talked about ‘drip-technology’, an irrigation method which saves water and fertiliser by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. Several countries, including India, he said, were using this modern method of irrigation with dramatic results: huge benefits to the farmers and help the countries achieve self-sufficiency in food.
With water scarce and food prices rapidly going up, he said the drip irrigation system could help Pakistan enormously in bringing prosperity to its rural population and achieve food security. The Israeli envoy said he could not understand why Pakistan doesn’t establish diplomatic ties with Israel when it maintains an Embassy in India, with which it has had ‘most difficult relations’, noting that Pakistan maintains relations with all countries, except Israel. We have relations with many Islamic countries, including Arab nations, so what’s the problem, he added.
In addition, there was no issue or conflict between Pakistan and Israel, he said, adding, there was no animosity in Israel towards Pakistan. Unlike the tirade against Israel in a section of the Pakistani Press, the Israeli Press doesn’t indulge in that of mud-slinging against Pakistan, he said. ‘We have goodwill for the people of Pakistan’, Sofer said. ‘We salute and wish Pakistan’s success in combating extremists’, he said.‘Why is there no dialogue between Israel and Pakistan. Dialogue process could help remove many understandings between the two countries’.