Pakistani PM firmly rejects Israeli ties as 'baseless', publicity campaign
Iran Press TV
Saturday, 19 December 2020 10:31 AM
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has rejected as "baseless" reports of his government officials visiting Israel, insisting why would any of the ministers visit Tel Aviv when Islamabad does not recognize the occupying regime.
Khan made the remarks during an interview on Friday with the local Samaa TV emphasizing that the Israeli-based news story was part of "an entire campaign" targeting his administration.
The development came following a publicity campaign by Israeli regime's news outlets alleging on Wednesday that a senior advisor to Khan had visited the occupied territories last month.
Citing a source close to the Tel Aviv regime, Israel Hayom and other Israeli dailies published a report claiming that the Pakistani aide had met with Israeli officials during an alleged trip to Tel Aviv.
The apparent propaganda story also said the Pakistani official was carrying a message from Khan that reflected his "strategic decision" to open political and diplomatic talks with the regime. The Jerusalem Post also covered publicity item but later removed it from its website.
Pointing to recent efforts by a coalition of 11 opposition groups -- led by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and the now London-based former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted after being convicted and later jailed on official corruption charges â€“ Khan said he was prepared to face everything the opposition alliance aims to throw at him.
"The PDM can do anything that it wants. I am ready," said the premier, adding that PDM's recent protest rally in Lahore had damaged the opposition's alliance.
"I am a jalsa specialist and I am telling you that this was a flop show," he said.
Khan's administration had dismissed the Lahore rally as "more [of] a ploy" to distract from the corruption charges against Sharif.
Khan also touched upon the threat of mass resignations by opposition legislators, saying, "If they resign, it would be better for Pakistan."
He went on to say he would even assist the opposition if they came to Islamabad, but noted, "They cannot even last a week [in Islamabad] even if I support them."
The Pakistani leader defended the country's top military commander General Qamar Javed Bajwa against the opposition's persisting allegations against him and the army, saying that "anger" and "disappointment" prevailed among the ranks after Bajwawas was targeted by opposition leaders during public gatherings.
"Gen Bajwa believes in democracy. Had it been another general, he would have given a quick rebuttal," Khan said, adding that the army chief was "angry" but he was "controlling it."
He also emphasized that all institutions â€” including the army â€” stood beside him, saying, "There are excellent civil-military ties in the country."
He said the army serves under him as he is the prime minister, and as the army is a government institution.
India's scheme to discredit Pakistan
Referring to a recent report by the EU DisinfoLab, Khan said the NGO's research had exposed India's network that kept spreading misinformation about Pakistan.
The Brussels-based NGO, which works to combat disinformation against the European Union, unveiled earlier this month that a 15-year-old operation run by an Indian entity had used hundreds of fake media outlets and the identity of a dead professor to defame Pakistan.
The report - Indian Chronicles: deep dive into a 15-year operation targeting the EU and United Nations to serve Indian interests - described the effort as the "largest network" of disinformation they have exposed so far.
The report - released on December 9 - said the disinformation network run by the Srivastava Group, a New Delhi-based entity, was designed primarily to "discredit Pakistan internationally" and influence decision-making at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the European Parliament, Al-Jazeera reported.
The report also revealed that in order to "undermine Pakistan internationally," the network "resurrected dead NGOs" at the UN, impersonated the EU and laundered content produced by fake media to real media, and reached millions in South Asia and across the world.
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