Islamabad, May 21 (EFE).- The Pakistani government rejected Friday accusations of antisemitism against its foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, for claiming in a CNN interview that Israel “controls the media” with its “deep pockets”.
“The Foreign Minister’s remarks made during his interview with the CNN cannot be construed as anti-Semitic by any stretch of the imagination,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Any twist given to the Foreign Minister’s remarks would unfortunately prove the very point he was making,” the statement said, adding that the right to freedom of expression should be respected equally by everyone.
During an interview Thursday with presenter Bianna Golodryga about the conflict between Palestine and Israel, Qureshi said that Israel was losing the battle of public opinion despite its connections.
This led Golodryga to ask what he meant, to which the Pakistani minister laughed and responded, “deep pockets.”
“They are very influential people (referring to Israelis), they control media,” added Qureshi.
Golodryga called this comment antisemitic.
The interview went viral on Twitter, where thousands of Pakistanis defended their minister.
Pakistan Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said on social media that people in the West insult Islam and its prophet on the pretext of freedom of expression, but comments on Israeli influence over the media are called antisemitic.
“Time to reject and counter this false narrative. Enough is enough,” said Mazari.
For decades, Pakistan has defended the rights of Palestinians, and in the current Israel-Palestine conflict Qureshi has traveled to Turkey and the United States on diplomatic trips to address the issue. EFE