Musharraf's exit seen ending Pakistan's contacts with Israel
JERUSALEM — The resignation of President Pervez Musharraf marks the
end of Pakistan's quiet effort to develop relations with Israel.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry saw Musharraf as the
leading advocate of Pakistani relations with the Jewish state. Ministry officials
said Musharraf, opposed by many in the military and intelligence community,
met senior Israeli officials and American Jewish leaders.
"We were not surprised by Musharraf's resignation, and we now expect a
more hostile leadership," a ministry source said.
In 2005, Musharraf, urged by the United States, greeted and shook the
hand of then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the United Nations.
Since then, Musharraf and his allies met other Israeli leaders and prominent
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An Israeli source said Pakistan conducted a security dialogue with the
Jewish state in 2006. The source said Israelis were also allowed to enter
Pakistan on special permits for both tourism and business.
In 2007, Pakistani relations with Israel began to unravel. In November
of that year, Musharraf was forced to leave the military, which formed the
basis of his power.
"Since then, Musharraf has had little time for anything other than
survival," the Israeli source said. "Very little took place on the level of
bilateral relations with Israel."
Musharraf's last meeting with a senior Israeli official took place in
January 2008. The Pakistani president was said to have met Israeli Defense
Minister Ehud Barak in Paris.
On Aug. 18, Musharraf, threatened with impeachment, announced his
resignation after nine years in office. The Israeli Foreign Ministry
Musharraf to be replaced by an Islamist leadership that would seek to
reconcile with Al Qaida elements in Pakistan.