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Tuesday October 04, 2022

FO dismisses report alleging former SAPM Zulfi Bukhari visited Israel

Zulfi Bukhari says apparently he was the "only one" who has "kept out of the loop" regarding his visit to Israel

By Web Desk
June 28, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Former special assistant to the prime minister on overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari and the Foreign Office on Monday rejected reports claiming that the former aide of PM Imran Khan 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.

FO rejects report of visit to Israel

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 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.

Opposition attacks govt

Criticising the government over the move, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari 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.

Meanwhile PML-N leader Khurram Dastagir said that if the reports were not true then the FO should reject the report.

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