Tuesday Jun 29 2021
Web Desk

Pakistan NSA refutes reports claiming he met Israeli officials secretly

Web Desk
Pakistan National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf. File photo
Pakistan National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf. File photo

  • Reports of senior Pakistani officials visiting Israel trigger controversies.
  • Moeed Yusuf says he is disappointed to be informed that the leader of a major political party has insinuated that he had secretly met Israeli officials.
  • Adds Pakistan stands for Palestinians' right to a just two-state solution.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf has strongly refuted reports claiming he secretly met Israeli officials.

The clarification from the NSA came after the Foreign Office’s statement denied Israeli media report that he visited Tel Aviv last November and met Mossad chief.

“Very disappointed to be informed that the leader of a major political party has insinuated that I had secretly met Israeli officials. Let me state categorically and on record that I have not had any meetings with any Israeli officials nor have I visited Israel,” Moeed Yusuf tweeted.

The prime minister, he said, has been very clear in his stance that Pakistan shall continue to stand for Palestinians’ right to a just two-state solution.

“The rest are all conspiracy theories. Enough said.”

‘Baseless and misleading’

On Monday, former special assistant to the prime minister on overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari and the Foreign Office denied reports that he had secretly visited Israel "to pass on a message of an important person."

"[I] did not go to Israel. Funny bit is Pakistani paper says I went to Israel based on "Israeli news source" and Israeli paper says I went to Israel based on a “Pakistani source” — wonder who this imaginative Pakistani source is," Bukhari tweeted while rejecting the media reports.

He quipped that "apparently" he was the "only one" who has "kept out of the loop" regarding his visit.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has also rejected the reports regarding Bukhari's visit to Israel.

"These reports are baseless and misleading. No such visit to Israel has been undertaken," said FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri. He also informed the media that Bukhari has also issued a rejection of the report.

The spokesperson also said that the FO had also rebutted "similar false reports" on December 18 of last year.

Bukhari's alleged visit to Israel

A day earlier, Israeli paper Israel Hayom had claimed that Bukhari flew to Israel from London. The report claimed that Bukhari arrived at Israel's Ben Gurion airport and was later transferred to Tel Aviv.

The report had claimed that the former SAPM, during his visit, had met Israeli foreign ministry officials as well as Mossad Director Yossi Cohen in Tel Aviv.

It had also claimed that the former aide of PM Imran Khan had gone to Israel to pass on a message from an "important person".

The Israeli publication, citing a "source in Islamabad" said Bukhari had visited the country on his British passport due to “heavy pressure” from the United Arab Emirates.

The news was shared on social media by the editor of another Israeli newspaper.

Bilawal Bhutto lashes out at PTI govt

Criticising the government over the move, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had said that the government must "reveal the details of Zulfi Bukhari's alleged visit to Israel."

"There are reports that an aeroplane flew to Israel from Pakistan, so the government must clarify the details of the route before the nation," Bilawal had said.

He questioned: "If a plane had flown to Israel via Pakistan, then who granted permission for that?"

He further added that since the Israeli newspaper published the report after approval from the country's defence ministry, there is something suspicious about the entire story.

Meanwhile, PML-N leader Khurram Dastagir had also demanded clarification from the Foreign Office.

The former defence minister, while taking on Geo News show Capital Talk, had said that Bukhari was the SAPM when the plane flew so the government should reject the report.