News Desk |
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry says Dawn newspaper should publish an apology for carrying a ‘fake news’ regarding alleged undeclared bank accounts of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
“Dawn published the story but the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has denied it. Now Dawn should apologize and publish the apology as prominently as they published the story. This is called fake news,” the information minister said while talking to the media in Karachi on Tuesday.
“Therefore, it is out of the question that SBP has reported 18 undeclared bank accounts of PTI out of total 26 to the ECP as reported by an English language newspaper,” the SBP clarification said.
On January 10, Dawn published a story saying the ruling party was operating at least 18 undeclared bank accounts in the country. The report said that the central bank had submitted a report to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) revealing the undeclared bank accounts maintained by the PTI.
“According to the information gathered from scheduled banks and submitted to the ECP by the SBP, the PTI is operating 26 bank accounts in different cities of the country, but only eight of them have been declared before the commission. The remaining 18 bank accounts fall in the category of fake or illegal bank accounts as these have not been declared in PTI’s annual audit reports submitted to the ECP as required under the law,” the report had said. The report claimed that the ECP had written to the central bank in July last year seeking details of the party’s bank accounts.
Dawn’s story also carried PTI’s reaction over the development and published comments of the party’s central finance secretary Azhar Tariq along with the story. However, the same day the SBP issued a statement denying the report that it sent PTI’s bank accounts details to the ECP. An SBP spokesperson termed the Dawn report ‘false’.
SBP clarified that it neither maintains a database of individual account holders not it possesses any related record. “Therefore, it is out of the question that SBP has reported 18 undeclared bank accounts of PTI out of total 26 to the ECP as reported by an English language newspaper,” the SBP clarification said.
Read more: Fake News: an age old phenomenon
The central bank said the ECP had approached it in July 2018 seeking assistance in obtaining information about bank accounts maintained by PTI from 2009 to 2013, and following the ECP’s request the SBP had advised all commercial banks to provide the required information to the ECP.