Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Ahmad Noorani, a reporter for English daily ‘The News’, who had filed an inaccurate story suggesting that the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had not found former premier Nawaz Sharif guilty of any wrongdoing in its report, has shut down his Twitter account, it is learnt.

Earlier, people were concerned after his Twitter handle Ahmad_Noorani went down and his cell phone was found switched off.

An activist, Shama Junejo, tweeted as saying, “I am so worried about Ahmad Noorani. His Twitter account @Ahmad_Noorani is down and his phone is unresponsive”.

Later, Waseem Abbasi, a special correspondent of The News, tweeted that Noorani is safe, saying “He is not using Twitter because Silence is another form of expression”.

Azaz Syed, a reporter of Geo News, also tweeted: “Famous Ahmad Noorani of The News quits the Twitter world.He says he disabled his account last night at around 8 p.m”.

However, the reasons behind shutting the account are not clear.

On trying to reach the account of the reporter, the following message is received:

Panama JIT ‘doesn’t find PM guilty,’ but his sons

Noorani filed the story, published on July 10 titled “Panama JIT ‘doesn’t find PM guilty,’ but his sons”, hours before the actual investigation report was made public, stating that the JIT had “at no place” held the prime minister responsible for any illegal activity.

Quoting “sources close to the JIT”, the news story had claimed that the JIT had connected Sharif’s sons — Hussain and Hassan Nawaz — to their family’s failure to provide evidence concerning the transfer of funds to London.

The reporter Ahmad Noorani also drew the ire of three-member bench of Supreme Court that was hearing the case regarding implementation of Panama case judgment for his story and the apex court issued contempt of court notice to him, Editor-in-Chief of The News Mir Shakilur Rahman and Printer Mir Javed Rahman.

 

However, as the story bounced back and the high-powered Joint Investigation Team submitted a report in flagrant contradiction with the observation of reporter, Ahmad Noorani preferred to apologize.

‘Human beings make errors’

In his apology, that is being widely shared on social media, the reporter admitted that the particular part of his story “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is not held responsible for any wrongdoing,” was completely wrong.

The  apology published on the front page of The News‘ July 12 edition states that Ahmad was accused of deliberately filing a false story to please the prime minister and his family.

“I did clearly write that the Sharifs failed to prove the money trail. It is ridiculous and absurd to suggest that any such report, which is going to be proven wrong within a few hours, will be ‘made up’ simply to support the Sharif family,” the apology said.

“As a professional journalist, I do understand that the story has hurt my readers as well as my own credibility,” it said.

Noorani regretted in his apology what he called a “vilification campaign” started against him and the Jang Group after the JIT report was made public, especially on social media.

“Human beings make errors and I am no exception,” he concluded.