Western journalist denies working for Pakistan
LAHORE: A western journalist accused by Mansoor Ijaz’s counsel of receiving funds from a Pakistani embassy over memo scandal has denied working for Pakistan.
David Frum referred to a report published in May 23 edition of Daily Times, which read, “Counsel Akram Sheikh had claimed in a statement that a Pakistani embassy provided funds to Harlan Ullman and David Frum for damage control after the memo controversy. I was so taken aback by the claim that I telephoned Sheikh to ask whether it was true. We had a short but intense exchange,” Frum wrote on CNN.com, adding, “Sheikh flew immediately into a rage at me, accused me of harassing him, insisted that I was somehow violating Pakistani law by telephoning him, refused to confirm or deny the Daily Times account and ended by inviting me to sue him for defamation.”
He goes on to say, “Sheikh’s charges are false, of course. Duh. More surprising than the falsehood, though, is the sheer laziness of the charge. Where is the fake evidence? The forged cheque, the bogus wire transfer, the suborned courier? Money always leaves a record.”
Referring to Ijaz’s allegation that the government of Pakistan had been tipped off to bin Laden raid, Frum says, “Writing here at CNN.com in December, I ridiculed Ijaz’s suggestion that the US government would ever have shared such information with the government of Pakistan, and reminded readers of Ijaz’s history of unreliability.” He adds that this column caught the attention of authorities inside Pakistan. On March 15, memo commission asked Ijaz to answer the column.
“Ijaz, who was under oath, told the tribunal that he had sued me for libel. He said, ‘In view of the fact Mr Frum defamed me, my lawyers in Washington informed him that if he does not retract, I will be taking legal action against him’.” Declaring the statement untrue, Frum says, “No lawyer for Ijaz had ever contacted me, I was never threatened with legal action over the column, and I did not retract it, points I made in a follow-up column on March 21. Sheikh is Ijaz’s counsel before the investigating commission. I surmise it was irritation with my March 21 column that led Sheikh to concoct the new accusation that I was a Pakistani government spy.”