Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Sunday (Oct 28) ruled out establishing any kind of relations with Israel as he strongly rejected reports that an Israeli aircraft carrying some officials secretly landed in Islamabad and flew away after several hours at the airport here.
"Islamabad is not establishing any kind of relations with Israel," President Alvi told the media before his departure for Turkey on a three-day official visit.
The story of the Israeli plane coincided with the visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Sultanate of Oman. Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited Muscat on Thursday and returned on Friday (Oct 26). The visit was announced after Netanyahu returned to Israel.
The episode of Israeli plane
An Israeli journalist Avi Scharf tweeted on October 25, when Netanyahu landed in Muscat, that an Israeli business jet flew from Tel Aviv to Islamabad where it was on the ground for 10 hours, before flying back to Tel Aviv.
It may be pointed out that the Muscat Port is only 208 nautical miles from Pakistan's strategic port Gwadar that was part of Oman till 1958 when it was sold to Pakistan for $3 million.
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also dismissed reports of an Israeli aircraft landing in Pakistan as fake and baseless. He said that something which is not even real does not warrant a response.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the "government would not negotiate in secret with either Israel or India".
BBC Urdu reported that the aircraft in question was a Canadian-manufactured Bombardier Global Express with the serial number 9394. It was registered on February 22, 2017 in the Isle of Man in the UK by a company called Multibird Overseas Ltd.
The Israeli journalist later said he was not "100 per cent sure" if the plane had landed in Islamabad.
Pakistan and Israel do not have diplomatic relations and their aircraft are not allowed to use each other's airspace.
Analysts are wondering if the 'fake' news was a message to nuclear-armed Pakistan that Israel is now in its proximity as Muscat is close to Gwadar.
According to Azriel Bermant, a research associate at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies, "one could argue that Islamabad poses more of a threat to Israel than Tehran does." In an article in the Haaretz, Bermant wrote "Pakistan test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile, the Shaheen III, which Pakistani officials said can reach Israel.
The Saudi Reaction
Commenting on Netanyahu's visit to Muscat, the Saudi TV Channel Al Arabiya pointed out that Israel has played an important role in hitting Iran's growing influence in Syria. It took up roles that rejecting Arab countries couldn't achieve. With this, military balance in the region was achieved.
Al Arabiya writer, Abdulrahman al-Rashed, said: