Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is receiving flak for urging former premier Imran Khan to file a defamation lawsuit against the Financial Times. To clarify, the UK-based newspaper recently published an article on PTI’s foreign funding case, claiming that the PTI, back in 2013, received funding from foreign origin.
Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif claimed that if Imran Khan does not file a defamation case against Financial Times then it will prove how “brazenly” he is lying and cheating.
“I urge Imran Khan to file a defamation case against Financial Times for publishing an indicating article. If he doesn’t and I am sure he wouldn’t, it will prove one more time how brazenly he is lying and cheating the people of Pakistan,” Shehbaz Sharif tweeted.
Read more: Did ECP hide PTI’s foreign bank accounts?
Needless to say, the premier faced backlash for his tweet because the FT article also claimed that Shehbaz Sharif and his brother former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were offered a bribe of $20 million.
“I urge you to have the FT article translated into Urdu to understand that it has an allegation that Arif Naqvi has bribed 20 million dollars to you people so the case should be filed by you. A fundraiser arranged by him for PTI with Overseas donating is already something whose details are with ECP, ” Dr Arsalan Khalid, focal person to Imran Khan on digital media, said.
I urge u to hav the FT article translated in Urdu to understand that it has an allegation tht Arif Naqvi has bribed 20 mil dollars to you ppl so case should be filed by you. Fund raisers arranged by him for PTI with Overseas donating is already something whose details r with ECP
— Dr Arslan Khalid (@arslankhalid_m) July 29, 2022
Azhar Mashwani, Secretary Info of PTI Youth wing, also made a similar claim while hitting back at PM Shehbaz’s tweet.
“Why would he file a defamation case against FT? PTI has already declared every penny we received. There is nothing new/exclusive in that article. But the article says you received 20 million USD as a bribe, when are you going to sue tem? Or is that true?” Azhar Mashwani tweeted.
Why would he file defamation case against FT? PTI has already declared every penny we Recieved. There is nothing new / exclusive in that article.
But the article says you Recieved 20 Million USD as bribe, when you are going to sue them? Or that's true?
— Azhar Mashwani (@MashwaniAzhar) July 29, 2022
Claims made in the FT article
A recent article by a UK-based publication called the Financial Times has caused quite the storm in Pakistan as it is being considered an “expose” on PTI’s foreign funding case.
Titled “The Strange Case of the Cricket Match that Helped Fund Imran Khan’s Political Rise“, the investigative article reveals how Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi’s Cayman Islands-incorporated company Wootton Cricket Ltd was used to bankroll PTI after receiving funds from companies and individuals including at least £2mn in April 2013 from an influential Arab figure.
According to the FT report, Imran Khan was invited to a cricket match where guests were asked to pay between £2,000 and £2,500 each to attend. Quoting Naqvi, the report added that the money went to unspecified “philanthropic causes” which turned out to be PTI.