- President says Khashoggi’s murder should be investigated, but Pakistan will stand with KSA during this ‘difficult time’
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Sunday dismissed reports about an Israeli aircraft landing in Pakistan and termed these reports as “baseless”.
Before departing for a three-day official visit to Turkey, the president spoke to the media at the Islamabad airport and said, “We are not establishing any relations with Israel.”
Later on Sunday, he reached Turkey and was received by the deputy governor of Istanbul upon his arrival. He was also presented a guard of honour.
The president said that Pakistan supported Palestine which has also faced unprecedented atrocities like Kashmir.
“Turkey is an important friend of Pakistan, who stood by Pakistan not only on the Kashmir issue but on other issues as well,” the president said.
He added, “We will have more meetings to strengthen the relations between the two countries.”
President Alvi is expected to hold bilateral meetings with his Turkish counterpart and leadership of other countries during his visit.
The president will attend and address the inauguration ceremony of the newly-built Istanbul International Airport which will be attended by other heads of countries as well.
He also confirmed that Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit China soon to discuss different economic issues.
Talking about Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, Alvi said, “Jamal Khashoggi’s murder should be investigated. Saudi Arabia is our friend and we will stand with them during this difficult time.”
Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari also took to Twitter to rebuff the impression that a plane from the Jewish state recently landed in Pakistan for a brief period under mysterious circumstances.
“Interesting how Israeli media, with a plane fake news, managed to divert Pakistani media’s attention away from the important security issue of the Netanyahu’s Oman visit, which has strategic implications for Pakistan if Israel gets a permanent foothold in Oman where US military already has a presence.”
On October 26, Avi Scharf, editor of Israeli newspaper Haaretz, said in his tweet that the alleged plane did not directly fly from the Israeli capital into Islamabad. Instead, it followed a trick flight route by landing in Amman briefly to make it look like an Amman-Islamabad flight rather than a Tel Aviv-Islamabad flight.
The Israeli journalist’s tweets had triggered a range of rumours on social media, with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal being one of many seeking an explanation from the government on the matter.
Responding to Iqbal’s tweet, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said that the government would neither hold any secret dialogue with India nor Israel.
“The truth is that Imran Khan is not Nawaz Sharif. We will not hold secret dialogues with Modi or Israel. Nobody needs to worry as Pakistan is in safe hands,” Chaudhry wrote.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had also dismissed reports of an Israeli aircraft landing in Pakistan as fake and baseless.
Addressing a press conference, Qureshi had said that something which is not even real does not warrant a response.
The claim was also rejected by Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Saturday, which categorically rejected any news regarding landing of a rumoured Israeli aircraft in Pakistan.
“There is absolutely no truth to the rumours that any Israeli plane landed at any airport in Pakistan. No such plane landed at any airport in Pakistan,” the authority had clarified in a notification.
Following the CAA’s notification, the Israeli journalist in a series of tweets provided details he had and did not have about the flight.
Pakistan and Israel do not have diplomatic relations. Hence, airplanes registered in either country are not allowed to enter each other’s airspace.
The BBC, after an initial investigation into the matter, established that the aircraft was a ‘Global Express XRS’ built by Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier.
It carries the serial number 9394 and was registered in the self-governing British Crown dependency Isle of Man on February 22, 2017.
According to its registration details, the aircraft is owned by Multibird Overseas Ltd which is listed in the British Virgin Islands. These details rule out the speculation that it was an ‘Israeli’ aircraft.