Pakistani man arrested for wanting to visit Israel

David Ariel (formerly Khalil-ur-Rehman), a Pakistani citizen who wanted to visit Israel on his Pakistani passport was arrested by security forces on Friday.

For the past month, Ariel had been camping in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, in front of the National Press Club. With a Star of David affixed to his camp Ariel had been demanding that the Government of Pakistan allow him to visit Israel on his Pakistani passport. Under Pakistani law, Pakistani passports are not valid for travel to Israel and each passport carries a statement that “This passport is valid for all countries of the world Except Israel”

In an interview with journalist Bilal Dar, David Ariel who was formerly known by his birth name Khalil-ur-Rehman said:

“There are thousands of people in Pakistan who want to go to Israel to visit their holy places.”

Ariel demanded that to travel to Israel on a Pakistani passport the Government should remove the line restricting passport usage for Israel.

Ariel said he had also requested NADRA, the National Database & Registration Authority to change the name on his identity card to David Ariel from Khalil-ur-Rehman.

Before being detained by police, his camp was attacked and he was beaten up by a group of religious extremists.

On Thursday Rehman Malik, chairman of the Senate Home Affairs Committee expressed concern over the hoisting of the Israeli flag in Islamabad and directed the Islamabad police to investigate as to “who can do this”. Ariel was arrested the following day.

David Ariel comes from a prominent family of Islamic clerics in Faisalabad. He is an Islamic scholar and was once known as Maulana Khalil-ur-Rehman. His father, Maulana Qari Muhammad Yaseen, teaches at Madrasa Dar-ul-Quran in Faisalabad. In 2013 he joined a Pakistan-Israel Alliance and has since been campaigning for diplomatic relations with Israel.