Islamabad: Forced to give up a necklace owned by the Turkish First Lady, Pakistan's former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday accused the goverment of "character assassination".
The necklace donated in 2010 by Emine Erdogan, Turkey's First Lady, for relief to flood-stricken people disappeared, prompting Interior Minister Chaurdhry Nisar Ali Khan to order the Federal Investigation Agency to probe and trace the missing necklace.
On Sunday, the FIA issued a notice to Gilani to return the piece of jewellery as he earlier admitted the necklace was in his possession.
Gilani said involving the FIA in the matter of the "missing" necklace donated by Erdogan showed the government's intent at his "character assassination".
He said the controversy should have ended when he told the government that the piece of jewellery was with him.
"Once I had told that necklace was with me, the matter was resolved. Either Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif or Chaudhry Nisar could have talked to me over the matter (if some clarification was still required)," Gilani said.
"I think we are not strangers to each other. The controversy over the missing necklace should have been over at the first instance. But 'my friends' chose to continue with it by engaging the FIA, which shows their clear intention that they are more interested in my character assassination and media trial," Gilani told Dawn.