ISLAMABAD - A controversy has erupted over the clothes worn by Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to the United States. Prime Minister Khan wore traditional ‘shalwar kameez’ and ‘Peshawri chappal’ during his meetings with US President Donald Trump and other senior officials of the US administration. Closes aides to the prime minister say that Khan wore simple clothes stitched by a low-cost tailor.

However, recently, an Islamabad-based luxury clothing store ‘Mohtaram’ had announced with pride that it had stitched 7 ‘shalwar kameez’ suits for the premier. The designer store is not cheap by any standard. It charges Rs16,000 to Rs18,000 for a simple ‘shalwar kameez’ suit, while adding waistcoat spikes up the charges substantially.

It was not immediately clear whether the prime minister wore clothes that were stitched by ‘Mohtaram’ during the visit. The CEO of the designer store Fahad Saif declined to comment when he was reached for his version.

Another costly outlet ‘La Fabrica’ also claimed with pride to have crafted and customised waist coats for the PM.

Zulfi Bukhari, the special assistant to the Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and HRD, dismissed the claims and revealed that First Lady Bushra Bibi herself bought all the clothes and got them stitched from a local tailor.

“The PM has never been interested in designers or worn them, especially for his simple ‘shalwar kameez’. Whichever designer is trying to claim credit for it is not only a liar but a cheat.” Bukahri tweeted early Thursday, soon after the prime minister landed back in the country. Earlier in May, Fahad Saif, 34, the founder and CEO of luxury clothing brand ‘Mohtaram’, had told an Arab news outlet that ‘we just happened to have a few very close clients from the PTI, and they just naturally recommended us to Prime Minister Imran Khan.” According to Saif’s interview to the foreign publication, “He was thrilled to see Khan wearing one of the Mohtaram’s designs during a parliamentary session.”

Saif has drawn the ire of some in the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf members. One party official allegedly made an angry phone call to the designer and enquired why he had disclosed to the media that his store was the tailor for the prime minister, a source revealed. Saif later issued a clarification on the store’s social media page. Mohtaram ‘is similar to many other tailoring facilities in Pakistan’, the post read. “Any connotation suggesting or inferring the creation of a designer wear or exclusive product for the prime minister is over-stretching the context of this occurrence.”

In other words, ‘Mohtaram’ claimed that it was a simple tailor shop. But a glance through the store’s website reveals that its products are priced in US dollars and most start from $150 and above. In short, it is an expensive brand. Local, simple tailors just charge between Rs1,400 to Rs3,000 for stitching a suit of ‘shalwar kameez’. Saif had claimed in an interview to the mentioned foreign media outlet that during a parliamentary session in May, he was ‘thrilled to see Mr. Khan wearing one of Mohtaram’s designs.’ “I observed that it seemed like one of our cuts and one of our patterns,” Saif was quoted as saying. “We have a few signature parts to our designs that at least we can now recognise.”