Zulfi Bukhari, the former special assistant to the prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, denied on Monday that he had secretly been to Israel.
This is Bukhari’s second denial of rumors that he was planning a trip to Israel. Last December, he refuted similar claims, claiming that he was with the Rawalpindi deputy commissioner at the time of the purported November visit.
The rumors began, according to Geo News, when a news source stated that an advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Israeli authorities at the Tel Aviv airport in November 2020 after receiving US approval for the trip.
According to the story, an unidentified advisor with a British passport was brought to Israel’s “foreign ministry,” where he met with various political leaders and diplomats and conveyed the Pakistani prime minister’s message.
Because Bukhari is also a British citizen, many on social media assumed the allegations were about him.
The topic resurfaced today when Israel Hayom, a Hebrew newspaper, published a news storey about the purported visit, citing an anonymous source in Islamabad.
According to the story, Bukhari traveled to Israel to meet Mossad spy agency director Yossi Cohen, according to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper’s Avi Scarf. He said that the news story was credited to a “source in Islamabad,” and that it was only released after the Israeli military censor approved it.
DIDNOT go to Israel.
Funny bit is Pakistani paper says I went to Israel based on "Israeli news source" & Israeli paper says I went to Israel based on a “Pakistani source”-wonder who this imaginative Pakistani source is🤔
Apparently, I’m the only one who was kept out of the loop. https://t.co/bcRO3osWMk
— Sayed Z Bukhari (@sayedzbukhari) June 28, 2021
Rubbishing the claims, Bukhari said: “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.
“Apparently, I’m the only one who was kept out of the loop,” he added.
Arslan Khalid, the Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Digital Media, joined Bukhari in debunking the allegations. “Bukhari had clarified last year that he was never sent by the government to Israel. This Israel-India-Pak fake news peddlers network is getting so boring and predictable,” he said.
He also called on the media to “show a little maturity and not promote fake news”.
“The last time when the same propaganda was run, not only did Bukhari deny and sent a legal notice but the Middle East Monitor, who reported it, also had to apologise,” he said.