PESHAWAR: Former MPA Fauzia Bibi on Saturday requested the trial court to reject the prime minister’s request to dismiss her defamation suit against him, insisting Imran Khan’s plea is delaying dispensation of justice to her.

In a written reply to the premier’s application, Ms Fauzia said Mr Imran didn’t want to face the merit of the case.

“Article 10-A of the Constitution doesn’t allow anyone to avoid the court’s proceedings by filing baseless applications,” she said.

Insists PM’s move delaying dispensation of justice to her

Additional district and sessions judge Abdul Majid later adjourned hearing into the case until May 2.

Syed Ghufranullah Shah was the counsel for the plaintiff, while lawyer Habib Qureshi defended Mr Imran. The prime minister’s lead counsel, Babar Awan, didn’t turn up in the hearing.

During the last hearing, an application was filed on behalf of the prime minister seeking the dismissal of the plaintiff’s defamation suit against him claiming that the comments made by him about her were ‘fair and in the public interest’.

The application filed under Order VII Rule 11 of Code of Civil Procedure said the news conference referred to by the plaintiff was made by Mr Imran in pursuance of a report submitted to him by the disciplinary committee in good faith.

The former MPA, who was elected on the PTI’s ticket on a seat reserved for women, has filed the suit for the recovery of damages to the tune of Rs500 million for defaming her by leveling ‘baseless’ allegations against her by Mr Imran in a news conference accusing her of selling her vote in the Senate election.

During one of the hearings, the court had given the last opportunity to Mr Imran’s counsel to submit a written statement to reply to the suit warning if that didn’t happen, the court would decide the suit in its absence.

However, the same was not filed and instead an application was filed for rejecting the defamation suit.

Few months ago, another application was filed on behalf of Mr Imran under Order VII Rule 10 requesting the court to return the suit as the news conference in question was addressed in Islamabad, which didn’t fall in the jurisdiction of the court.

However, that application was dismissed by the court on Jan 30.

This defamation suit was filed in June 2018 under the Defamation Ordinance 2002.

The only defendant in the suit was PTI chief Imran Khan, who later became the prime minister.

In the application, Mr Imran said the disciplinary committee had looked into the matter and submitted its report to

him and that his news conference was held on the basis of that report.

In a written reply, the plaintiff said the defendant through such false, frivolous and baseless application was trying to delay the dispensation of substantial justice to her.

She said the defendant’s application was a repeat of an application filed earlier to delay proceedings and therefore, it should be dismissed.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2019