Protests to be held Pakistan by Islamic parties

Hardline Islamic parties in Pakistan are going to conduct nationwide protests over the first formal talks between Pakistan and Israel.

The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a powerful alliance of six Islamic parties, says it will confront Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri when he returns home.

Mr Kasuri met Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Thursday.

Pakistan has said the meeting does not mean it recognises the state of Israel, according to BBC.

But in Pakistan, the MMA said its supporters would wear black armbands and wave black flags in protest against the meeting.

"We urge the people to fully participate in today's rallies to tell the rulers that we will not allow them to recognise Israel," MMA spokesman Ameer ul-Azeem is quoted as saying by AP news agency.

MMA president Qazi Hussain Ahmed said the move to hold discussions with Israel was "against the national interest and the Muslim community", the AFP news agency reports.

After the talks, Pakistan's foreign minister said that his country had decided to "engage" with Israel after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza.

Israel's foreign minister described the talks as a "historic meeting".

Mr Shalom told Israel Radio: "We are talking about a tremendous significance, not just in regards to our relations with Pakistan, but the entire Muslim world."

He said that he hoped the talks would lead to "a full diplomatic relationship with Pakistan, as we would like it with all Muslim and Arab countries".

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