For nearly three years I have been educating my Pakistani community regarding the facts about Israel and Israelis. I have been writing blogs for the Times of Israel and articles for various Israeli and international newspapers. The main purpose of spending days and nights in writing was to provide accurate information about Israel and Israeli society.
It was not an easy mission, but I really enjoyed working on this project because I learnt a lot, interacting with different mindsets of Pakistanis and Israelis. Thousands of Israelis morally supported what I was writing; hundreds of Pakistanis showed their interest as well.
I believe I was the only Pakistani Muslim who chose to continually educate my Pakistani community, even though I eventually had to relocate from the city where I had spent my life thus far in the UK in order to keep me and my family safe. Still I did not give up.
The time came when in September of 2016 I launched my organisation, Pakistan-Israel Alliance, with the help of the Zionist Federation UK. In Pakistan, in the Pakistani community in the UK and in other parts of the world there was a shocked and curious response when they heard about the launching of the organisation, the likes of which had never existed in the sixty-nine years of Pakistan’s independent history.
The purpose of the organisation was simple, the provision for educational reform in Pakistan to encourage the acceptance of Israel (and the Israeli people) as a bright nation in the hi-tech world. I explained the motto of my organisation in my interview Pakistan and Israel Have Shared National Interests. Yet in my mission something was missing and that was to convey my peaceful message to my Pakistani community in a way that they could understand properly and effectively. All the articles I have written were in the English language and I had forgotten that more than 85% population of Pakistan, though aware of the English language, speak and read only their native language Urdu. My team members and I on social media finally realized that most of the Pakistani people who debated with us did not or could not read my articles due to their being in English exclusively.
I received so many requests from my Pakistani community telling me that they do not understand my English articles and, please, could I write these also in Urdu in order that they can understand the information properly. Wanting to ensure this, I decided last year to write my articles in Urdu as well. I wrote a few in both languages, then discovered that I faced another great problem. No Pakistani newspaper in either Pakistan or the UK was willing to publish my articles because of my affiliation with the Zionist Federation UK and my identity as a Muslim Zionist. I was so upset and disappointed by the attitude of Pakistani media who closed their doors to me because of my wish to educate my people about Israel. I did not give up, because I had learned not to give up in the face of opposition.
The requests to keep writing in Urdu language rapidly increased in early 2017. As a result, I decided to launch my own Urdu language newspaper to keep the promise I had made to the Pakistani community. The next issue to be faced was financing the online newspaper and I could not locate any organisation that could help me in launching this. On one hand, I was not able to personally provide this financing. On the other hand, there was my mission to educate my people in a language that they can read and understand very well. So, I arranged enough financing that I could manage to launch an online Urdu newspaper. Media is one of the prime tools in providing a constructive education in today’s world and I wanted to use this tool to introduce my peaceful ideology to the minds of the Pakistani people. I hatched a brilliant idea. Why not launch my online Urdu newspaper from Israel? My thinking was that initiative could bring a positive impact on my people about Israel and Israeli people and demonstrate that they do care about Pakistan and its people.
After a conversation with my Israeli and Pakistani team, I started the preparations to launch the first ever Pakistani Urdu language newspaper from the state of Israel. After few months of intense effort, we were able to launch the newspaper in August which is also the month when modern Pakistan was founded in1947 and also a 70th years of Pakistan’s independence. On 6th of August 2017, I, along with both my Israeli and Pakistani teams, officially published the first online edition of the Urdu newspaper Pak Israel News . The newspaper also is issued in two more languages, Hebrew and English, to ensure the message reaches the widest possible audience. I am extremely delighted to announce that I have since received a tremendous response from the Pakistani community. They are incredibly supportive of me on this project. We have received a 100% positive response so far after publishing the latest news and columns about the Israeli society. There is a subscription system for people who want to receive the news about Israel through emails on the daily basis. Additionally, the newspaper has its Twitter and Facebook accounts.
There are so many positive things about Israel to show the world, especially to the Pakistani community. There needs to be a strong motivated effort to break the taboo of demonstrating a positive view towards Israel and her people. I want to show the positive and peaceful image of Israel and Israelis towards Palestinians and particularly for Muslims in the region through my newspaper. Pak Israel News is still in her initial stage. My team and I want it to grown to be a very powerful newspaper in Pakistani society. I single handily with my limited financial capability cannot achieve this powerful educational goal without both communities support and cooperation.
In the end, I wish to my whole heated congratulations and thanks to my team, including Meirav Grobler from Israel and Faran Jeffery from Pakistan as editors of Pak Israel News and Farrukh Ben Sagheer from Pakistan as the IT manager. Without them, I could not achieve the goal. The whole Pakistani nation will proud of you guys. Thank you very much.