No IAEA delegation visited Pakistan: FO

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FO

Adil Shaheen

Islamabad: The Foreign Office (FO) on Friday rubbished reports of the visit of a high-level delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the country as “fake news” and said there was no veracity to the matter.

A day ago, a PTI official from its US chapter and several users, who appeared to be PTI supporters based on their past posts and account descriptions, shared a video clip from an Indian news segment by Zee News on a meeting between IAEA Director General (DG) Rafael Mariano Grossi and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The posts questioned whether the government had closed a deal to hand over its nuclear arsenal. YouTuber Moeed Pirzada, who frequently posts pro-PTI content on his YouTube channel, also questioned the military’s public relations wing about the agenda of the alleged visit and why it was not being reported in the media.

The posts did not date the alleged meeting or the programme the clip was from.

The clip claimed that a deal was struck between Pakistan and the IAEA to hand over nuclear weapons. The video making the rounds on social media also showed a picture of DG Grossi shaking hands with PM Shehbaz.

Addressing the matter in a post on X, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said: “Stories regarding the visit of a high-level IAEA delegation to Pakistan are fake news! No IAEA official is currently visiting Pakistan; Nor are any policy talks planned in near future with IAEA.”

She said the IAEA DG had last visited the country in February 2023 and the FO had accordingly briefed the media on the occasion.

Indeed, the meeting shown in the viral video clip took place between the IAEA DG and PM Shehbaz place last year in February when they met to increase collaboration in peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology, particularly in agriculture and medicine, to the benefit of the country and its neighbours.

DG Grossi had spent two days in Pakistan during which he met with the country’s leadership and visited numerous nuclear facilities across the country, some of which he inaugurated.

The two also spoke about the worsening effects of climate change on Pakistan and how nuclear science and IAEA support were helping the country.