Imran Khan Lashes Out At Israel

Imran Khan Lashes Out At Israel
The backlash over Israel's comments about Pakistan at the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva continues, as former Pakistan prime minister, and chairman of the crumbling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party, Imran Khan has also entered the fray.

Yesterday, the Foreign Office (FO) in Islamabad had rejected Israel's remarks at the UNHRC, stating that Pakistan could do without Israel's suggestions. Both countries have no formal diplomatic relations with each other.

Khan lambasts Israeli occupation of Palestine

In a tweet, Khan said it was "absolutely shameful how Israel with the worst record, along with India, of human rights violations as an occupation force against Palestinians in occupied territory, had the audacity to target Pakistan".

Khan said it was "totally condemnable" because "Pakistan has never been targeted by any state in this vile manner as Israel had the audacity to do now".

"Israel continues its massacre of Palestinians showing it is a rogue state beyond the pale of all international laws and norms of behaviour," Imran Khan tweeted.

Khan did not miss the opportunity to take a swipe at the Pakistani government, as he added that Israel's remarks on Pakistan show "a complete collapse of our diplomacy by this corrupt and fascist govt that is destroying Pakistan internally and externally". Khan concluded by saying that Israel's comments about human rights in Pakistan "also shows our descent into the law of jungle where might is right".

While Khan and his populist PTI are no strangers to political expediency and having inconsistencies in their own narratives, it is pertinent to mention that Khan's supporters have been castigating the incumbent PDM government - and particularly Pakistan's powerful military - for human rights violations, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, imprisonment of political prisoners, and other atrocities they refer to as "state fascism". Most of these allegations have been made in response to the state's crackdown on the PTI's rank and file, initiated in the aftermath of riots that erupted when Imran Khan was arrested on May 9.

Hammad Azhar's tweet

A few hours prior to Khan's tweet, PTI leader and former federal minister Hammad Azhar tweeted in Urdu, saying that Israel had "retaliated" against Pakistan while talking about the state of human rights in the country.

Like his party chairman, Azhar also took aim at the Pakistani government, claiming that Pakistan's "circus government" used the episode "against the Tehreek-e-Insaf" instead of "giving a befitting response to Israel".

Antisemitism and hating Israel

It has long been alleged, particularly by his opponents and detractors, than Imran Khan enjoys close links with the "international Jewish lobby" courtesy his previous marriage to Jemima Khan née Goldsmith, daughter of late British-French magnate and tycoon Sir James Goldsmith.

The religious and conservative segments of Pakistani society have been, for ages, fed antisemitic tropes that fuel extremism, and associating Khan with Israel and "the Jews" is a political tactic designed to weaken Khan's legitimacy among his supporters. More recently, it has been rumoured that Pakistan is being "pressured by the international establishment" to recognise Israel in exchange for financial concessions and assistance in overcoming its economic problems.

While antisemitic sentiments pervade Pakistani society by and large, there is little credence to the rumours and conspiracy theories of pressure on Pakistan to recognise Israel, as UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and other Muslim countries have done as part of the Abraham Accords.

Imran the 'Jewish agent'

The allegations of Imran Khan being a "Jewish agent" have been made publicly for years by religious ideologues like the late Dr Israr Ahmed, as well as PDM president and leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman.

Many are sharing videos of Dr Israr Ahmed on social media, where he spoke of the 'new world order' and the 'Illuminati' conspiracies. Dr Israr referred to Imran Khan as a prey who had been snatched or hunted by this 'nefarious Zionist cabal' that he believed controls the world.

Most recently, former PTI leader and former provincial minister Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan claimed that Imran Khan and Israel were planning to attack religious seminaries (madrassa's) operated by Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman. He made this startling revelation in a press conference.

Chohan said that as soon as Khan was released on May 14, he ordered PTI leaders in a Zoom virtual meeting to organise violent protests outside Fazl's seminaries. Chohan also claimed that the first delegation from Pakistan to Israel was sent during the PTI government, when Imran Khan was prime minister.