Thursday Dec 17, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Zulfi Bukhari dismissed on Wednesday rumours that he recently visited Israel.
The rumours started after a news report claimed an adviser of Prime Minister Imran Khan had met Israeli officials at the Tel Aviv airport in November after getting approval for the visit from the US.
Bukhari says he was with the deputy commissioner in Rawalpindi that day.
The news report claimed the unnamed adviser was taken to the “foreign ministry of Israel where he met several political officials and diplomats and delivered the message of the Pakistani PM.”
Bukhari said the Indian and Israeli sponsored media and the frustrated opposition wanted to “create some controversy”.
“If it is directed against me, I would like to clarify that I was in Rawalpindi with the deputy commissioner on the day and pictures of the event are also available,” said Bukhari.
The SAPM said he pitied the “opposition for stooping this low”. He added that PM Khan has made Pakistan’s position on the issue of Israel “very clear”.
An Israeli newspaper claimed an adviser of PM Khan had visited Tel Aviv in November on his British passport to relay an official message that proposed normalisation of ties between Pakistan and Israel in return for its support “to halt down Pakistan’s current cold situation with the Arab countries as well as to support it on many international issues”.
According to a global think-tank director, the visit took place in the last week of November.
“The PM’s adviser [sent to Israel] lives in the UK and has also close relations with the Trump administration,” claimed the director.
“He stayed a few days in Israel where he met with the director of Israeli intelligence Mossad Yossi Cohen and delivered a secret message of Pakistan Army chief,” it went on to claim.
According to the reports that cite unnamed Israeli sources, Pakistan has sought the support of Israel to “halt down the current cold situation with the Arab countries as well as to support it in many international issues such as the FATF as well as Indian lobbying against Pakistan”.
“In return, Pakistan will start political ties at a slow pace due to the fear of a religious bloc within the country,” they claimed, adding that the offer was welcomed by the state of Israel.
The Foreign Office has not responded to these reports yet. However, the FO has many times rejected the reports about normalisation of ties with Israel as baseless.