The Pakistani government on Tuesday filed a formal complaint with the British communications regulator and state-broadcaster BBC for publishing a story on June 2 documenting alleged human rights abuses in the tribal areas.The BBC report published on June 2, titled ‘Uncovering Pakistan’s secret human rights abuses’, looks into Pakistan’s long battle with militants as part of the post-9/11 “war on terror” and carries the accounts of locals as well as the top leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), Manzoor Pashteen. A letter of complaint issued by the External Publicity Wing of the Information Ministry stated that BBC English and BBC Urdu both had published a story which “not only presented a fabricated theme, but also violated journalistic ethos”.“The story also violates BBC’s editorial policy by not incorporating the point of view of all stakeholders/citing credible sources/quoting authentic evidence etc,” it continued, adding that it amounted to “indicting the state of Pakistan for so-called ‘secret human rights abuses’ without any cogent evidence”. “The detailed analysis of its content reflects bias, spinning and angling of facts. There are judgemental expressions in the story, which are a clear violation of journalistic norms of impartiality and objectivity,” the letter said.The government requested that the matter be looked into for “appropriate action against the author and editorial board linked to the story”. Additionally, it demanded that the BBC removes “this defamatory and malicious story and issue a clear-cut apology”. It warned that Pakistan retained the right to pursue all legal options in Pakistan or the UK if the BBC authorities failed to retract the “libellous and defamatory story and take action against its writer”.The complaint stated that the government expected the BBC to “abide by its editorial policy and journalistic ethos in the future”; that the British Office of Communications (OfCom) would look into the response on the content of the mala fide, incorrect and misleading content of the story and take measures as per the BBC’s editorial guidelines 1.2.11; and that the BBC would ensure that “such fake stories specifically targeting Pakistan” were not published. A dossier accompanying the letter, which was addressed to both the Ofcom and the BBC, contained further analysis and a breakdown of the government’s complaints against it. Additional details and responses were provided to allegations and statements reported in the story.The dossier also discussed an email interaction with BBC’s Simon Fraser which Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor had tweeted about on June 3. “However, despite the ISPR’s offer for a detailed interaction, BBC went ahead with its one-sided story in violation of its own editorial guidelines and charter,” the dossier stated, listing which editorial guidelines had been breached.