Fake news of General Raheel Sharif being stopped at a Saudi airport emerged online a few days ago and now the Dubai-based Arabic newspaper Emarat Al Youm has released a clarification stating that the news was fabricated and it was not responsible for it.

The article had appeared online on July 29 and it claimed that the former Pakistani chief of army staff, who is now heading the Saudi-led Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT), was stopped at a Saudi airport by the authorities from leaving the country.

However, a day after the article was published, Emarat Al Youm published a clarification distancing itself from the report and saying that the news was fabricated and posted on the website through a fake uniform resource locator (URL).

“This news is ‘fabricated’ and Emarat Al Youm has not published it,” reads the clarification. “The group [behind the story] used a link similar to that of the newspaper website’s URL [to] broadcast the false news.”

The newspaper, which also ran images of the “fake news”, said that “it holds a legal right to pursue anyone who intentionally defames its image or uses its name to spread its lies and fabrications.”

After retiring from the army, Gen Raheel Sharif was offered a position by the Saudi government to command the 41-nation IMAFT. He left for Riyadh from Lahore on April 21, and has been leading the role there, after the government cleared him to serve the coalition.

The news of Gen Raheel being stopped at the airport was also denied by Pakistani security agencies.