- Marriyum Aurangzeb says those who aired 'fake news' should apologise, urges PEMRA to take action
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has warned of legal action against state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) and a private TV channel for airing 'fake news' regarding Junaid Safdar, the son of PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz, in a report on the Pandora Papers.
The party said that those who linked Safdar's name to the Pandora Papers should apologise or face legal action.
In a twitter message, PML-N's information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the PTI government "deliberately created a fake report that Junaid owned five offshore companies". “Those who aired the fake news against Junaid Safdar should apologise,” she added.
She accused Prime Minister Imran Khan, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, PTV, and other channels of running a fabricated campaign against Safdar. She urged the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), the body that regulates content, to take action against them.
“The king of fake news, Imran Khan, used state television to run this false news.”
The PML-N leader mentioned that lawyers are looking to pursue legal action against PTV for airing ‘the false and baseless news’.
Meanwhile, Maryam Nawaz also warned of legal action against a private TV channel for airing the news.
Sharing a screengrab of the news report, she said, “If ARY does not apologise immediately on this fake news, I will take them to the court. Sue them.”
The statement comes after both news channels mentioned Safdar's name as the owner of five offshore enterprises.
However, when Umar Cheema and Fakhar Durrani, the two journalists from The News who participated in the Pandora Papers investigation from Pakistan, were asked by Geo News, they said they did not come across Safdar's name during their investigation.
Pandora Papers revelations
On October 3, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a global network of 280 investigative journalists in more than 100 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories, unveiled its Pandora Papers.
The exposé named Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Senator Faisal Vawda, PML-Q leader Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, Ishaq Dar's son, PPP's Sharjeel Memon, the family of Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan, Axact CEO Shoaib Sheikh among those with alleged links to offshore companies.
The ICIJ said that a 2.94 terabyte data trove revealed names of members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle, high-rank former military officers, as well as renowned business and political personalities, own secret offshore assets.
The investigation is based on a leak of confidential records of 14 offshore service providers that give professional services to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking to incorporate shell companies, trusts, foundations, and other entities in low- or no-tax jurisdictions, said the ICIJ.
The entities enable owners to conceal their identities from the public and sometimes from regulators. Often, the providers help them open bank accounts in countries with light financial regulation.
The 2.94 terabytes of data, leaked to ICIJ and shared with media partners around the world, arrived in various formats: as documents, images, emails, spreadsheets, and more.
More than 330 politicians and 130 Forbes billionaires, as well as celebrities, fraudsters, drug dealers, royal family members, and leaders of religious groups around the world feature in the list.
Pandora Papers to reinforce PM's stance
Earlier, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said details of financial secrets of the global elite through 'Pandora Papers' will "further strengthen Prime Minister Imran Khan's stance against money laundering".
In a tweet on Sunday, Fawad said: "If the 'Pandora Papers', like the 'Panama Papers, details how the money is laundered from poor countries to abroad then this will further reinforce Prime Minister Imran Khan's stance against money laundering."
The information minister hoped that, like the 'Panama Papers, the leaks will also open new ways to ensure transparency in financial practices and will help in the fight against corrupt practices.