TV commentator Orya Maqbool Jan tweeted a news story about a Pakistani-Jewish businessman’s products on display in Jerusalem, and appeared to ‘congratulate’ the incumbent government for apparently moving towards “normalisation” of ties with the Jewish state of Israel. “Pakistan’s first trade cargo vessel has arrived at Israel’s port,” his tweet said.
پاکستان کا پہلا تجارتی جہاز اسرائیل کی بندر گاہ اتر گیا۔ پی ڈی ایم کے سربراہ مولانا فضل الرحمان کو مبارک ۔ خبر بھی وائس آف امریکہ نے دی ہے https://t.co/icahr4THfc
— Orya Maqbool Jan (@OryaMaqboolJan) March 31, 2023
Pakistan does not officially recognise Israel, but rumours of back-channel contacts between both states have persisted for long. Masses of Pakistani Muslims are taught to hate Israel as an oppressive apartheid state that occupies Palestinian land and oppresses Palestinian Muslims.
It is these segments of a hyper-Islamized Pakistani society that Orya’s tweet and its ‘concerns’ are directed towards. Conjuring up external enemies, and ‘connecting the dots’ between them and politicians in the incumbent government, would also appear to serve his current political inclinations.
On March 28, Pakistani-Jewish businessman Fishel BenKhald posted a video clip of his products, including dates, dry fruit and spices, on display in a Jerusalem market. BenKhald is a kosher food businessman from Karachi, and exports his products around the world. This was his first batch of food products reaching markets in Israel.
Congratulation to Me as a Pakistani
I exported first batch of Pakistan 🇵🇰 food products to Israel 🇮🇱 market
Dates, Dry fruit, Spice single container. My video@CMShehbaz @ImranKhanPTI @BBhuttoZardari @NawazSharifMNS @MaryamNSharif @betterpakistan @MiftahIsmail @tdap_official pic.twitter.com/l4KRqI4oet
— Fishel BenKhald (@Jew_Pakistani) March 28, 2023
He clarified in a later tweet that this was not the first export of Pakistani goods to an Israeli market in history, and also explained that he did not do anything illegal because there are legitimate international trading networks in place to facilitate trade between the two countries.
The news story that Orya tweeted also contains in-depth reporting on the recent news of trade, as well as the background of Pakistan’s lack of relations with Israel.
To straighten out the sinister narrative being peddled by Orya, Twitter users took to the news story itself to point out the facts that Orya ignored or overlooked. The recent shipment of goods from Pakistan to Israel took place due to private efforts of businessmen at trade exhibits hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and did not have any official government facilitation – at least none that has been publicly acknowledged so far.
اوریا مقبول صاحب صحافی آپ ہیں لیکن آپکی دی ہوئی معلومات پر ریسرچ ہمیں کرنی پڑتی ہے جس وائس آف امریکہ کے آرٹیکل کو آپ شئیر کررہے ہیں اُس میں تو بحری بیڑے کا ذکر نہیں ہے @voaurdu کے مطابق تجارتی پاکستانی جیوش شہری نے متحدہ عرب امارات کے قنصل خانے کے ذریعے کی ہے جس میں پاکستانی… https://t.co/AMHpP4Q8Rn pic.twitter.com/nFksCOXrkm
— Expose Propaganda (@EPropoganda1) March 31, 2023
Twitter user Mahfooz ur Rahman Awan, in reply to Orya, thanked Imran Khan for allowing Fishel BenKhald to proceed to Israel on his Pakistani passport in the first place.
شکریہ عمران خان pic.twitter.com/kZ36yUYoIB
— محفوظ الرحمن اعوان (@mahfooz51871) March 31, 2023
The American Jewish Congress (AJC) had also released a statement to the press on March 30 on “trade between the state of Israel and Pakistan”. The statement recalled that the initiative to remove trade barriers between the two countries – who still don’t have official diplomatic ties – started back in 2005.
Read this. Please do research before you embark on something. pic.twitter.com/fuTZdnF7gm
— Oxi (@sohailoxi) March 31, 2023
Security expert Faran Jeffery said that trade between Israel and Pakistan had been going on through third countries, and that there were other reasons why this story was being hyped out of proportion at this time.
This isn't "news". Private Pakistanis and Israelis have been doing this kind of trade via third country for quite some time now. This is only in the news because the person behind this has a large social media following and the AJC released a statement about it. https://t.co/XKBopUnsfz
— FJ (@Natsecjeff) April 1, 2023