Pakistani defence minister falls victim to fake news

Khawaja Asif reacts to an invented story and threatens to retaliate in kind to an Israeli nuclear strike — but Israel says the news is fake.

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has been widely mocked for his blunder.

Updated Dec 27, 2016

Pakistan's defence minister issued a statement saying he will retaliate in kind to any Israeli nuclear strike following a fake news article threatening the country if it sent fighters to Syria.

Khawaja Asif was responding to the story published on the AWDNews website and headlined, "Israeli Defense Minister: If Pakistan send ground troops into Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack."

Israel’s Ministry of Defence clarified the issue on Twitter.

Israel maintains a policy of ambiguity about its nuclear arsenal, neither confirming nor denying its existence, but is widely believed to be a nuclear power.

Pakistan, which conducted its first nuclear test in 1998, is believed to have around 120 nuclear weapons. The country has no diplomatic ties with Israel.

A growing number of fake articles are now widely shared on social media.

Earlier this month a rifle-wielding man entered a pizza restaurant in Washington, saying he wanted to investigate a fake news story that the establishment was a centre for child abduction linked to failed US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Last week Google said it was working to refine its algorithm to weed out "non-authoritative" information after a British news report showed a Holocaust denial website was the top result when users asked "Did the Holocaust happen?"

 

Source: 
AFP