Pakistan state TV anchor laid off over Israel visit

Islamabad, May 30 (IANS) Pakistan Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Monday that Pakistan Television (PTV) has terminated the services of one of its anchorpersons who was part of a Pakistani-American delegation that visited Israel earlier this month, media reports said.

The removal of the anchorperson came a day after Israeli President confirmed a meeting with a delegation of Pakistani expatriates which he termed as “an amazing experience”, Express Tribune reported.

An Israeli media outlet, Haaretz, had reported that a 15-member delegation, led by two civil society groups, visited Israel in order to promote interfaith harmony, primarily between Muslims and Jews. The trip was organised by the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Council and an NGO called Sharaka.

The delegation included American-Pakistanis, a British Pakistani, and a Pakistani journalist, among others. The anchorperson had entered Israel on his Pakistani passport, making it the first-ever trip of its kind.

The visit was criticised by many, especially the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership, which had alleged that the government wanted to recognise Israel.

During a rally in Charsadda, former Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that “slaves of the US” in the government would do everything that had been ordered to them, Express Tribune reported.

However, the Foreign Office and the government distanced themselves from the visit, saying it was arranged by an NGO which was not based out of Pakistan.

It added that Islamabad’s position on the Palestinian issue was “clear and unambiguous” and there was no change whatsoever “in our policy” towards the Jewish state, the report said.

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