pakistan: Pak minister threatens TV channels for airing allegations against PM Imran

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan government has threatened the country’s broadcast media with legal action for reporting on allegations by former member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party that expenses of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s private palatial residence on hilltop in Islamabad were borne by party’s workers.
Earlier this week, a retired judge of Pakistan’s apex court, Wajihuddin Ahmed, who had resigned from the PTI in 2016, claimed that the now-estranged party leader Jahangir Tareen had been providing Rs 3 million every month for Khan to run his household.
The amount, Ahmed alleged during a TV interview, had been increased to Rs 5 million later.
According to Ahmed, the public perception of Imran Khan being an honest man was completely wrong. Tareen, in a posting on Twitter, however, denied the allegation.
Soon after its telecast, the interview went viral on social media and was subsequently picked up by mainstream media outlets.
“Some TV stations made a campaign out of Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed’s allegations,” said information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, vowing that the government would pursue a case against all channels that had reported on Ahmed’s allegations without verification.
The minister further said that the government had also decided to file a “criminal defamation” suit against Ahmed for his allegations.
Appealing to the chief justice of Pakistan and the chief justices of all high courts to ensure that the respect of institutions was upheld, the minister suggested the formation of special division benches at district and high court levels to deal specifically with defamation cases.
Speaking with reporters in Karachi after the minister’s presser, Ahmed maintained that his statement was accurate and added that he had no problem with the government filing a defamation suit. To a question, he said that Tareen had no choice but to deny the allegation. “These expenses are out of the books and are not accounted for. Hence, it was easy for him to deny it,” he alleged.

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