Pakistani diplomat Zafar Hilaly on Thursday tweeted a clarification on an ‘imposter tweet’ questioning the veracity of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice-president Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s son Junaid Safdar’s university degree and his alleged arrest after.
“A fake degree following Calibri font,” the impostor tweet read in Urdu. It went on to claim that Junaid had been nabbed in connection with obtaining the “fake” credential in London.
Hilaly had tweeted later the same day that he had “nothing whatsoever” to do with the tweet. He also clarified how he had never tweeted in Urdu. “I have just seen a tweet purporting to be from my account accusing Junaid Safdar of having acquired a fake degree from Oxford Univ. I have nothing whatsoever to do with this tweet and disclaim all responsibility. Besides, I have never tweeted in Urdu,” Hilaly’s tweet read.
The now-retired diplomat’s followed after Junaid had served a legal notice on Hilaly over the imposter tweet. The notice demanded Hilaly retract the “tweet”, tender an unconditional and unqualified apology and pay PKR500 million to Junaid as damages.
The notice also featured Junaid’s higher education credentials: degrees from Durham University, University College London, London School of Economics and Politics Science and University of Cambridge.
The micro-blogging site, separately, has suspended the said account. Whether this was done in connection with the false post or due to other reasons, however, remains uncertain.
Hilaly, who is also a political analyst, is not the first influential Pakistani to be impersonated on social media. Former Supreme Court chief justice Asif Saeed Khosa, similarly, denied ever being active on Facebook or Twitter earlier in May. The former CJP, does not have, and never had, any account on Twitter Facebook, a statement by Khosa’s secretary said. Any social media post attributed to him, therefore was fake, it went on to read. The Sindh Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cyber Crime had initiated proceedings on the development after.
Nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan had moved the FIA after social media posts attributed to him came into his notice. Khan told the agency in an application that he had no accounts on Twitter, Facebook or any other site. “It came to my notice that some people have prepared forged accounts on different websites with my name and picture. Therefore, I am clarifying that I don’t have any accounts on social media. The false and immature statements being issued in my name on social media are tarnishing my image. I have not authorised anyone to use my name to make accounts,” The Express Tribune quoted the now-deceased scientist as having informed the FIA.