Pakistan 'desperate' for financial help from Saudi Arabia, Imran Khan tells foreign journalists; PM's aide denies 'interview'

Islamabad: Imran Khan's aide's denial over an interview given by the Pakistan prime minister has created a storm on Twitter. Imran, before departing for Riyadh to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference, had reportedly told journalists present in an interview held on 20 October that even though Pakistan was concerned about the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, they were "desperate" for financial help from Saudi Arabia.

The occurrence of this interview, however, was completely denied by Special Assistant to Pakistan's Prime Minister, Naeem ul Haque. "PM did not give any interview. A delegation of foreigners touring Pakistan called on him and were told about the state of affairs we are faced with. Why can't senior journalists like you get our version," commented Haque on a newspaper clipping tweeted by Kamran Khan, the editor-in-chief of the Dunya Media Group in Pakistan.

In response to this, Amanda Coakley, a freelance Irish journalist who was a part of a UK media delegation that conducted the interview, stated that Naeem ul Haque was present in the room when the "on-the-record interview" took place. She tweeted, "I beg to differ Mr ul Haque. On Sunday, 14 October, three British journalists and myself, an Irish journalist went to Pak as part of a UK Media Delegation and were offered an interview with PM Khan."

Furnishing a photographic proof of the interview, Coakley further stated, "On Saturday we met the PM and conducted an on-the-record interview which lasted 1 hour and 12 minutes. You were in attendance as was Mr Fawad Chaudhry and Mr Sarfraz Hussain, picture attached."

She also mentioned that the interview had been recorded on "different devices" by "all journalists present". "Two devices were on a little table next to the PM. There was no mention of anything being off the record," tweeted Coakley, who has previously worked for CNN International.

Updated Date: Oct 24, 2018 09:46:13 IST