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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Reports of mysterious Israel to Islamabad flight denied by Pakistan's government

The government denied that a private jet originating in Tel Aviv landed in the capital and departed 10 hours later

Pakistan's President Arif Alvi says the country is not going to establish any ties with Israel and denies a flight from Tel Aviv landed in Islamabad. AP
Pakistan's President Arif Alvi says the country is not going to establish any ties with Israel and denies a flight from Tel Aviv landed in Islamabad. AP

Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi stated that his country is not in the process of establishing ties with Israel after reports that a mysterious private jet flew from Tel Aviv to Islamabad with a brief stopover in Amman.

The report of the jet from Tel Aviv came from Avi Scharf, an editor at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, who regularly posts on social media about aviation oddities in the Middle East.

Scharaf and others pointed to data from Swedish aircraft aggregating site FlightRadar24 that showed an aircraft take off from Tel Aviv and fly to the Jordanian capital, where it landed, waited a short time and then took off to fly on to Pakistan. Some 10 hours later, the flight tracker picked up the same aircraft make the return route towards Israel.

However, the government of Pakistan has denied that an Israeli aircraft landed in the country.

Mr Alvi cited "unprecedented atrocities" being perpetrated against the people of the Gaza Strip as a reason that his country will not establish ties with Israel. Speaking on Sunday, he compared the treatment of Palestinians to the actions of the Indian government in the contested region of Kashmir.

He told reporters that all speculation about the landing of an Israeli jet at an Islamabad airport was baseless.

He joined several Pakistani ministers and the Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) who have denied the report.

Scharaf has pointed out that, according to the data of flight aggregators, this is technically correct in that the aircraft is registered to a UK-based firm called Multibird Overseas, on the Isle of Man, but that recent flight records also show the plane in question is based at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.

He also stated that the brief stopover in the Jordanian capital allowed the flight to change its origin airport in flight records from Tel Aviv to Amman.

The Israeli journalist was joined on social media by other aviation analysis and hobbyists who waded into what has become a hot topic on Pakistan by explaining how the flight aggregating data, which is crowdsourced from hundreds of monitoring stations around the world, gives a very strong indication that the plane landed in Pakistan and returned to Israel.

Several people also pointed out through posts that the PCAA, which is responsible for monitoring and communicating with all flights to or over the country, and the Pakistan Air Force will have clear records of the flight's movements.