Sunday Dec 25, 2016
ISLAMABAD: Major international news outlets earlier on Sunday picked up Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif’s warning tweet in response to a website’s false statement, which claimed that Israel would wipe out Pakistan in a nuclear attack should it find the latter involved in Syria.
According to the defence minister’s retaliatory tweet to false news, Asif stated: “Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh. Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too AH”
Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh.Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too AH— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) December 23, 2016
Asif’s message on December 23 was nothing short of alarming. “Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too,” he said, after noting that “Israeli def min [threatened] nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh.” The reaction-inducing, misleading information surfaced on awdnews.com on December 20.
According to the fake story, Israel said it would “destroy [Pakistan] with a nuclear attack,” in case it sends “ground troops into Syria on any pretext.”
@KhawajaMAsif The statement attributed to fmr Def Min Yaalon re Pakistan was never said— Ministry of Defense (@Israel_MOD) December 24, 2016
However, Israeli defense ministry cleared up matters without further ado. In a tweet on its official account, the country’s ministry explained, “The statement attributed to fmr Def Min Yaalon re Pakistan was never said. […] Reports referred to by the Pakistani Def Min are entirely false.”
The back-and-forth comments were serious enough to surge to importance in global media, with notable Israeli-Middle East news website Haaretz noting “nuclear war” to be the horrific would-be impact, had the story gone unchecked.
The exchange was made further baseless by the fact that the threats were attributed not to current Defense Minister of Israel Avigdor Liberman, but to ex-Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who stepped down in May.
The tweet from Asif has garnered almost 1,500 “likes” and over 2,000 “retweets.” Most news posts on Internet are centered around how Pakistan made a nuclear threat against Israel after the deceitful report.
In its post Reading Fake News, Pakistani Minister Directs Nuclear Threat at Israel, The New York Times asserted that both countries have nuclear arsenal, which makes “proliferation of fake news stories […] an increasingly serious problem.” This builds on incidents such as the one in North Carolina, US, where local police arrested a man for firing at a restaurant; inquiry revealed his rage was fueled by bogus articles.