Thursday Jul 01, 2021
Former special assistant to the prime minister on overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari on Thursday sent a £100 million defamation notice to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Bukhari served the notice after the PPP chairman raised objections over reports of the former SAPM's alleged visit to Israel.
Criticising the government over the move, Bilawal, in a press conference on June 28, 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," said Bilawal.
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.
Bukhari, in a tweet, said that after consultations with his legal team, he decided to serve the PPP chairman the defamation notice for his recent "irresponsible remarks".
"His poor understanding about most things again made him blurt out things fed to him, provoking issues he knows nothing about," the former aide said.
In the notice issued to Bilawal, Bukhari has asked him to acknowledge receipt of the notice, withdraw his comments clearly (in black and white), publicly apologise over national media, take an oath to not utter such defamatory remarks against him again and propose payment for damages caused.
The legal notice also states that if Bilawal does not do the above within 14 days, then legal action would be taken against him.
Last month, Bukhari and the Foreign Office had 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 been "kept out of the loop" regarding his visit.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office also rejected 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 last year.
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 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 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 report also claimed that the visit came as the two countries are expected to participate in joint naval exercises with US Navy in the Black Sea.
The news was also shared on social media by the editor of another Israeli newspaper.