New Delhi: In a huge gaffe, Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has reportedly threatened to nuke Israel after he read a news report about a similar warning from his Israeli counterpart but it turned out to be false.
The Pakistani minister said that his country won't hesitate to use nuclear weapons against Israel if it faces a similar threat.
His knee-jerk reaction follows a fake news report which claimed that his Israeli counterpart threatened a "nuclear retaliation" for Islamabad's role in Syria.
The story of this embarrassing faux pas by a senior Pakistani minister was picked up by various news organisations.
The New York Times wrote that a fake news story prompted the Pakistani defence minister to threaten to go nuclear.
In a Twitter post, Asif slammed Israel after he apparently believed that Tel Aviv had threatened Pakistan with nuclear weapons.
"Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh," the minister reportedly wrote on his Twitter account. "Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too," he wrote.
According to Times, Asif was reacting to a fake news article published on awdnews.com titled “Israeli Defense Minister: If Pakistan send ground troops to Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack”.
The article had appeared on December 20.
The fake report even misidentified the country's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The article quoted a former minister Moshe Yaalon.
Reacting to the fake news, the Israeli Defence Ministry responded on Twitter to say the it was fictitious.
"The statement attributed to fmr Def Min Yaalon reg Pakistan was never said," the Times quoted the ministry's Twitter post as saying.
"Reports referred to by the Pakistani Def Min are entirely false," the ministry added in a second post.
The Times wrote that the proliferation of fake news stories, spread on social networks and produced by a variety of sources including pranksters, has become an increasingly serious problem.