Nasim Ashraf used to be Pakistan’s human development minister and the chairman of the Pakistani Cricket Board (PCB). Dr. Ashraf is the chairman of the National Commission for Human Development and founder of Human Development Foundation of North America (HDFNA), Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA) and Americans for Peace and Justice (APJSA).
Pakistan is among the countries with no diplomatic relations with Israel in an act of solidarity with Palestinian statehood. The country claims that no official Pakistani delegation has ever visited Israel.
In a clear attempt to undermine Pakistan’s solidarity with the Palestinian people, a “Pakistani delegation” led by Nasim Ashraf met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Israeli Foreign Ministry officials on September 23, 2022. The delegation was hosted by the Sharaka Institute in cooperation with the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC). In a statement, Sharaka said it was “honored to be leading efforts to build bridges of dialogue and understanding between Pakistan and Israel.” Sharaka is a shadowy organization set up with the goal of normalizing relations between the Israeli occupation and certain Arab regimes.
When an Associated Press reporter asked Ashraf about his trip over the phone, he replied: “Yes, I am in Jerusalem with a delegation to promote interfaith harmony,” He refused to give any further details about other members of the delegation.
Ashraf also had an interview with Jewish News Syndicate, expressing his desire for Pakistan to recognize Israel, effectively calling for Islamabad to turn its back to its policy of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. “Many countries, Pakistan included, could benefit from Israeli technologies, especially in agriculture, water reuse, high-tech and health care,” Ashraf, told JNS.1
In response to Ashraf’s trip, Pakistan’s Foreign Office categorically rejected reports of a Pakistani delegation’s visit to Israel, clarifying that the visit has been arranged by a foreign NGO, not based in Pakistan. The foreign ministry added that the country’s position on the Palestinian issue was unchanged.2