LAHORE: A sessions court on Wednesday allowed time to the new counsel for Prime Minister Imran Khan to submit replies to two different applications in a Rs10 billion defamation suit filed by Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif that is pending adjudication since 2017.
The applications demand the court to hear the suit on a day-to-day basis and to seize the right of the defendant (Mr Khan) to file a written statement as he had failed to submit it within the stipulated time.
As Additional District & Sessions Judge Sohail Anjum resumed hearing, Advocate Pir Masood Chishti filed the memo of his appearance and sought time to file his power of attorney on behalf of Imran Khan and replies to the applications by the plaintiff.
The judge allowed the request and adjourned the hearing till June 17.
Previously, Advocate Babar Awan had been representing Mr Khan. However, after becoming an advisor to the prime minister, his client, he did not appear on the subsequent hearings.
Last week, Mr Sharif had filed the application for an early hearing of the suit on which the court had issued notice to the defendant for June 10.
Advocate Mustafa Ramday, the counsel for Mr Sharif, told Dawn that the defendant had been failing to file a written statement for the last three years, resulting in no substantial proceedings in the case. He said the law envisaged disposal of a defamation suit within three months.
The application said the total number of hearings conducted by the court was 60 and on 30 different occasions the counsel, on behalf of the defendant, had sought adjournment.
The defamation suit states that Imran Khan started issuing false and malicious statements against the plaintiff saying the latter offered Rs10 billion to the former through a common friend in exchange for withdrawing the case of Panama Papers pending before the Supreme Court.
Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2020