DUBAI – An Arabic newspaper has denied publishing any report about former army chief of Pakistan, Gen (r) Raheel Sharif, being stopped at Riyadh airport by Saudi security forces, terming the initial article that appeared online “fake”.

Dubai-based Arabic newspaper Emarat Al Youm recently ran a clarification, disowning the fabricated news that surfaced online on July 29.

“This news is ‘fabricated’ and Emarat Al Youm has not published it,” reads the clarification. “The group [behind the story] used a link similar to that of the newspaper website’s URL [to] broadcast the false news.”

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The newspaper, which also ran images of the “fake news”, said that “it holds a legal right to pursue anyone who intentionally defames its image or uses its name to spread its lies and fabrications.”

Gen Sharif, who is now heading the Saudi-led Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) – had left for Riyadh from Lahore on April 21 to assume the command of the 41-nation coalition.