PESHAWAR: Following the repeated court notices, Prime Minister Imran Khan has filed his reply to a defamation suit of former MPA Fauzia Bibi against him, insisting the lawsuit is based on mala fide intent and ulterior motives and therefore, it should be dismissed.
In the response, the prime minister insisted that the news conference he addressed about horse-trading in the 2018 Senate elections was based on the report of a fact-finding committee of his political party and that his remarks on the issue were made public in good faith.
“The defendant (Mr Imran) has not said anything on his own or personal experience but has narrated only the true information provided by the fact finding committee,” he said.
Advocate Intazar Hussain Panjutha submitted the reply to the court of additional district and sessions judge Abdul Majid Khan over the lawsuit filed by Fauzia Bibi against Mr Imran for accusing her of selling vote in the 2018 Senate elections.
Requests court to reject ex-MPA’s lawsuit saying it is based on mala fide intent
The court fixed June 22 for further hearing into the case.
Lawyer Syed Ghufranullah Shah appeared for the plaintiff.
The former MPA, who was elected as the PTI nominee on a seat reserved for women, has filed the lawsuit for the recovery of Rs500 million damages from Mr Imran for defaming her through ‘baseless’ horse-trading allegations in a news conference.
This defamation suit was filed in June 2018 under the Defamation Ordinance, 2002.
The only defendant in the lawsuit is PTI chief Imran Khan, who later became the prime minister.
The court had decided on Feb 13 to start ex-parte proceedings against the prime minister over his failure to submit the reply to the lawsuit despite its repeated orders.
However, a panel of lawyers for Mr Imran had requested the court to set aside the ex-parte proceedings and provide his client with an opportunity to file the written statement in response to the plaint.
As the plaintiff’s counsel didn’t oppose the request, the court accepted it.
In the written reply, Mr Imran said he and his political party (PTI) had a long struggle for a better and corruption free Pakistan where rule of law prevailed and elections were held independently free from corrupt practices.
He said it was reported to him that some members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly including the plaintiff had sold their votes in the 2018 Senate elections in consideration of illegal gratification where after he being Chairman of the Party constituted the Fact Finding Committee to probe the allegation.
He said the fact-finding committee disclosed to him the names of doubtful MPAs who had not voted for the party’s candidates as a result of which the candidates had lost the senate polls.
“The findings of the committee were based on strong evidence and the same was narrated by the answering defendant (Mr Imran) during a press conference whereby after announcing the names of 20 doubtful members of the provincial assembly he clearly mentioned it that those 20 members were being served show cause notices and the members were supposed to explain their position before the disciplinary committee as per the law and in accordance with the party constitution,” the reply read.
Mr Imran also said the show cause notice was issued by Naeemul Haq, a member of the PTI’s disciplinary committee on Apr 19, 2018, while the plaintiff submitted her reply to the committee headed Pervaiz Khattak afterward.
He contended that the plaintiff didn’t challenge the action of the fact-finding committee and the disciplinary committee before any competent forum provided under the law governing the affairs of the political parties as well as provided in the constitution of the PTI.
The prime minister contended that the matter had been pending with the disciplinary committee and during the pendency of proceedings, the plaintiff filed the lawsuit with mala fide intent and ulterior motives.
Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2021