ISLAMABAD: The BBC has started internal investigation against the reporter who has been accused by BBC itself of "misusing the platform of BBC" to publish a story on Park Lane flats owned by sons of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Highly reliable sources in BBC have confirmed that reporter Ather Kazmi has been accused by the BBC management of playing into the hands of a Pakistani political party by getting uploaded "an old story as new" and the "regurgitate version" of what has been published and said hundreds of times.
The embarrassing development at the BBC Urdu came similar to another big embarrassment in July 2015 when BBC Urdu was called inefficient and loose when BBC Urdu reporter Ahmed Khawaja sent a tweet mistakenly claiming the Queen had died. The BBC said the tweets - which were picked up by news outlets worldwide - were "a grave error of judgement".
Story on Panama involving has been held up by Imran Khan as a new revelation while it has been dismissed by PML-N and independent observers.
The BBC source said: "The BBC has been put into a very embarrassing situation. The article carries nothing new. Our reporter misled the duty editor who thought the article was carrying new information.
Now, if we take it down it will result into a bigger scandal and will make headlines. We have been told by credible sources that the reporter involved in the writing of this report was passed on file which is part of the supreme court papers and contents of these papers have been in public domain for a long time."
Investigation was ordered into the Pakistani born reporter on Monday after the Beeb came under criticism in TV talk shows and social media that PTI successfully exploited the name of BBC through Ather Kazmi to get uploaded a story as new which in fact carries nothing new and reveals nothing.
It's the same reporter who, while working at another channel, was involved in attack on Maulana Fazlur Rehman outside the House of Parliament alongwith Imran Khan's nephew Hassan Niazi who had led the attack on Maulana Rehman as he came out of the parliament.
The BBC source has confirmed that the same reporter brought Jahangir Tareen to the BBC Urdu's London studios in December and interviewed him for BBC but that interview was stopped by the BBC management because it carried defamatory allegations. A short edited version of Tareen's interview was published on BBC Urdu website few days ago.
Following the start of investigation, Ather Kazmi has deleted his dozens of pro-PTI tweets but these tweets have already been saved and have been made part of the investigation.
The BBC source said that Ather Kazmi has accepted that he brought Jahangir Tareen to the BBC and was asked by Tareen to get something on the BBC website which could be exploited while linking the ownership with the BBC.
The BBC Urdu refers to the ownership of Park Lane apartments but does not say anything on who owned them before 2006 and that is the key question.
The BBC source said that it was always known Nielsen and Nescoll owned the flats in the 1990s but no proof is available to establish the ownership of Nielsen and Nescoll pre-2006.
BBC Urdu reported that properties owned by the Sharif family in London's upscale Park Lane neighbourhood were purchased in the 1990s and there has been no change of ownership since then. The report said that the four flats were purchased in the name of the Nielsen and Nescoll companies.
The PTI has been trying to establish that Maryam Nawaz, and not her brother Hussain Nawaz, as stated by the PML-N earlier, was the beneficial owner of Minerva Financial Services Limited, which held Nescoll Limited and Nielson Enterprises Limited - the owners of the London flats.