Five Pakistanis are reportedly being probed for exploiting Pakistani passports to travel to Israel. Five members of their family, however, remain in Israel. In light of these developments, an investigation was launched to learn more about their operations.
Due to personal safety concerns, these individuals concealed their religious identification during their time in Israel, according to the study.
The investigation began after the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) observed unexpected foreign remittances from Israel. Small sums of money were sent by Western Union and received at a branch in Mirpurkhas, Sindh.
The arrested men, who worked as car washers or assistance in Israel, transferred almost Rs. 2 million back to Pakistan during a six-year period.
As the investigation unfolded, it was learned that eight members of the family had visited Israel at various times. Some of them returned in 2021, while others returned in 2022. Notably, three of these individuals are elderly and in terrible health, and their names have yet to appear in the FIR.
One of those detained disclosed that he has an aunt named Rifqa who immigrated to Israel from Pakistan roughly four decades ago. Rifqa’s father married an Iranian Jewish woman after she converted to Islam. Rifqa is the youngest of three siblings.
All of those implicated are Pakistani citizens over the age of 65 who have visited Israel. Abdul Majeed Siddiqui, Sitara’s husband, and their two boys, Noman Siddiqui and Kamran Siddiqui, have also visited Israel.
Noman and Kamran sent the money from Israel. Kamil, the son of one of the accused, Muhammad Anwar, also visited Israel.
According to accounts, Ishaq Matat, Rifqa’s husband, coordinated the family’s trip plans. Anwar alleged that he paid Ishaq Rs. 300,000 for logistical support, travel assistance, and job placement in Tel Aviv.
There is no evidence linking Ishaq Matat to the arrested men, but Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, discovered a man named ‘Issac Matat,’ who is the CEO of a carpet company started by Jews who moved from Pakistan
The arrested individuals kept their religious affiliations disguised while in Israel. One is a Hafiz-e-Quran, another has a grocery store, while yet another owns a beauty parlour. People in their neighbourhood were informed they were in Switzerland, not Israel.
Despite the small amount remitted, it aroused doubts about the beneficiaries and the nature of their activity in Israel. Due to their illegal stay in Israel, the FIA has filed a FIR, as Pakistani passports are not valid for travel to Israel.
It is worth noting that Pakistan has a small Jewish population, primarily in Sindh. Some are thought to live in Mirpurkhas and Umarkot. Approximately 809 adult Jews were registered to vote in the 2013 general election, which climbed to 900 in 2017.
For security reasons, many people conceal their religious identification. The Jewish community in Pakistan garnered notice in 2019 when the authorities permitted Fishel Khalid, Pakistan’s sole openly stated Jew, to travel to Israel.