Pakistan takes ‘serious exception’ to use of Islamabad hospital image by Israeli politician

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Israel’s former defense minister Naftali Bennett seen in a video released on May 20, 2021. — Photo courtesy Naftali Bennett’s YouTube Channel
  • Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri says Pakistan takes “serious exception” to use of Shifa Hospital’s image by an Israeli politician to portray it as a Hamas base.
  • “We believe that it is casual misjudgment at best, and deliberate misrepresentation at worst,” says Chaudhri.
  • Naftali Bennett had shared a video on May 20 in which Shifa Hospital in Islamabad was erroneously portrayed as the “largest medical complex in Gaza” and a Hamas headquarter.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri on Tuesday said that Pakistan takes “serious exception” to the use of an image of a hospital in the country by an Israeli politician who in a video claimed it was a Hamas headquarter.

Israeli far-right politician and former war minister Naftali Bennett had shared a video on May 20 in which Shifa Hospital in Islamabad was erroneously portrayed as the “largest medical complex in Gaza” and a headquarter from where Hamas was “conducting terror actions against Israel.”

“We have seen the statement by Israel’s former war minister and we believe that it is casual misjudgment at best, and deliberate misrepresentation at worst,” Chaudhri told Geo News.

“We also take serious exception to the fact that a Pakistani building was misquoted in the statement,” he said.

The error was pointed out on social media, where users identified the image as belonging to Shifa Hospital in Islamabad.

According to Arab News, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony and the Middle East Maulana Tahir Ashrafi considered it “a deliberate attempt to mislead the world”.

“Israel is frustrated due to Pakistan’s active role in highlighting the Palestinian issue and Israeli atrocities infant of the whole world,” Ashrafi told Arab News. “It is a deliberate attempt to mislead and deceive the world as Israel has destroyed actual health facilities in Gaza. We condemn this attempt to malign Pakistan.”

Ashrafi said that Pakistan will continue its support for Palestinians until it gets an independent state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

Meanwhile, Shuja Rauf, a spokesperson for the hospital in question, said it was “clear that the image of Shifa International Hospital (SIH) Islamabad has been shown mistakenly”.

“SIH is Pakistan’s leading private sector hospital, accredited with Joint Commission, United States. The hospital has been providing quality health care services to Pakistanis for over 28 years. We accordingly emphasise to remove the said visual,” he said to Arab News.


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