Pakistan's Defense Chief Taking Heat for Threating Nuclear War With Israel

Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif had threatened Israel in reliance on a false report of a potential Israeli attack on Pakistan.

Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif.
Anjum Naveed/AP

Pakistan's defense minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, has been taken to task by an official from his own country's Foreign Ministry after he threatened Israel last week based on fake news.

Asif was relying on an erroneous report on the AWD News website claiming that Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon had said Israel would destroy Pakistan if the Pakistanis send troops to Syria. Defense Minister Asif tweeted in response: "Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too." But in addition to the fact that Ya'alon never made the statement attributed to him, he has also not been Israel's defense chief since May.

Fake news causes Pakistan's Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif to threaten Israel with nuclear war

All of this prompted the Pakistani Foreign Ministry's Ali Sarwar Naqvi to call Asif's tweet "a very ill-thought statement without verification of the source of this news," as he told the Financial Times. Naqvi a former Pakistani ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, added: "The foreign ministry should have been consulted” but "the defense minister doesn't appear to have consulted anyone."

A Western official was quoted as syting “The minister should have asked himself first if sending troops to Syria has ever been discussed anywhere. Why should an Israeli politician raise this matter to begin with?"