Prime Minister Shehbaz chafes for urging Imran Khan to sue UK publication

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is receiving criticism for urging former Prime Minister Imran Khan to file a libel suit against the Financial Times. To clarify, the UK-based newspaper recently published an article on the PTI foreign funding case, claiming that the PTI, in 2013, received funding from foreign sources.

Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif claimed that if Imran Khan does not file a defamation suit against the Financial Times, it will prove how “brazenly” he lies and cheats.

“I urge Imran Khan to file a defamation suit against the Financial Times for publishing a revealing article. If he doesn’t, and I’m sure he wouldn’t, it will once again prove how point he brazenly lies and deceives the people of Pakistan,” Shehbaz Sharif tweeted.

Read more: Did ECP hide PTI’s foreign bank accounts?

Needless to say the Prime Minister faced backlash for his tweet as the FT article also claimed that Shehbaz Sharif and his brother former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were offered a 20m bribe of dollars.

“I urge you to have the FT article translated into Urdu to understand that there is an allegation that Arif Naqvi bribed you $20 million, so the case should be filed by you. An Organized Fundraiser by him for PTI with overseas donations is already something the details of which are with ECP,” said Dr. Arsalan Khalid, Imran Khan’s Digital Media Focal Point.

Azhar Mashwani, information secretary of the PTI youth wing, also made a similar claim when responding to Prime Minister Shehbaz’s tweet.

“Why would he file a defamation suit against FT? PTI has already declared every penny we received. There is nothing new/exclusive in this article. But the article says you got $20 million in bribes, when are you going to sue him? Or is it true? tweeted Azhar Mashwani.

Claims made in the FT article

A recent article by a UK-based publication, the Financial Times, has caused quite a storm in Pakistan, as it is seen as a “revelation” on the PTI foreign funding affair.

Entitled “The strange case of the cricket match that helped fund Imran Khan’s political rise Investigative article reveals how Wootton Cricket Ltd, the Cayman Islands incorporated company of Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi, was used to fund PTI after receiving funds from businesses and individuals, including at least $2 million pounds sterling in April 2013 from an influential Arab personality.

Read more: FT report on PTI foreign funding causes a storm

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.

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