Pakistan denies receiving weapons and security equipment from Israel

Liberal newspaper claims Jewish state exported arms to four Arab countries

Pakistan has denied that it has imported weapons from Israel after British documents, published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), suggested that Israel had sold arms to Islamabad, and a number of other predominantly Muslim countries.

Pakistan’s denial comes as the liberal Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported that a number of Muslim countries, some without even diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, had received the weapons. BIS publishes a list of export licences that it has approved for arms sales, including where it is intended that the arms, or weapons components, will be passed on to a third country as in this case.

The UK has on occasion stepped into block arms sales to some regimes, but has also come under fire in recent years after allowing various devices to be exported where they could have been used by oppressive regimes. The government came under fire two years ago when it was discovered that the UK had exported ‘crowd control measures’ to Bahrain, just as the Bahraini security forces were supressing popular protests with similar devices.

According to the Haaretz report, the deals for which permits were granted included arms and security equipment to be exported by Israel to Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Pakistan. The Pakistani Inter Services Public Relations department issued a statement saying that it, “categorically denied a news report which appeared in a section of media stating that Pakistan purchased any defence equipment from Israel. The report is misleading and not based on facts.”

The idea that Pakistan was receiving arms from Israel would be deeply unpopular among the country’s religious conservatives.

The BIS licence shows that British components used in radar systems and parts for fighter jets were sent to Israel and eventually passed on to Pakistan. Egypt and Morocco received Israeli electronic warfare systems, which included British parts. Britain refused to issue licences for systems that Israel intended to export to Russia, Sri Lanka, India, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

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