Criminal lies

Lying is a normal human trait. Those of us who claim they never lie are also lying. We all lie...but most of our lies are harmless and just a tactic to save ourselves from getting into trouble. However, one should always draw a line when lies become vicious and/or malicious. Unfortunately, some people think it is okay to malign someone through a lie as long as it serves their purpose, not realising that it is criminal to do so.

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan is a glaring example of such criminal acts. He has repeatedly lied about various things but one of his most criminal lies was about renowned journalist and former caretaker Chief Minister Punjab, Mr Najam Sethi. For the last 18 months, Imran Khan and his cronies have been peddling a lie, without a shred of evidence, on every platform from TV interviews to dharna stage to political rallies, etc that there is an audio tape where Mr Sethi is allegedly talking to Mian Nawaz Sharif on election night and saying something along the lines that “penti penture” (35 punctures) have been made (basically meaning that in 35 constituencies, elections have been rigged).

Mr Khan and his followers then went on a rampage and started a hate campaign against Sethi. They alleged that Sethi was ‘rewarded’ by Mian Nawaz Sharif after the elections when he was given the post (honorary post, mind you) of Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). This tape never materialised because it did not exist but Khan continued to claim he would bring it out in the open when the right time came, not admitting that there was no tape indeed.

It is said that words can hurt the most but this lie did not just hurt Mr Sethi’s person but his journalistic credibility as well, something he has worked hard to earn over decades. Najam Sethi sued Imran Khan for defamation last year. For over a year, Khan did not respond to the court’s direction to file a reply. His lawyer was fined for wasting the time of the court. When he finally responded on oath, in writing he confessed that the allegation “was not an assertion of facts” and that he had heard it from media sources. Subsequently he publicly admitted it was “just a political statement”.

Mr Sethi says: “Imran Khan has maligned me continuously for 18 months and I will not rest until he apologises to me. My family and I have been hounded by his supporters. It has been a tough time for us. But I have been vindicated and Imran has been roundly discredited.”

What kind of a man and a political leader Khan is can be seen by the fact that he has so far refused to apologise for his blatant lie regarding Sethi. Those media people, politicians and PTI supporters who fell for Khan’s lie regarding Sethi are now quite remorseful and have apologised for their mistake. Many columns have been written about this issue and many television talk shows have discussed Khan’s lie but Khan himself feels no shame. A man who preaches ethics and honesty to others is himself quite dishonest.

It is time to apologise, Mr Khan. Sethi deserves your public apology and much more!

(Originally published in Mid-Day)


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