Panama Papers case: PM submits reply to defamation suit after four years

Published July 28, 2021
The defamation suit states that Khan uttered false and malicious statements against Shehbaz that the latter offered Rs10 billion to the former through a common friend in exchange of withdrawing the case of Panama Papers pending before the Supreme Court. — Photo courtesy Imran Khan Instagram/File
The defamation suit states that Khan uttered false and malicious statements against Shehbaz that the latter offered Rs10 billion to the former through a common friend in exchange of withdrawing the case of Panama Papers pending before the Supreme Court. — Photo courtesy Imran Khan Instagram/File

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan has told a court that one of his friends had told him that someone known to him and also the Sharif family had approached him with an offer to pay billions of rupees if he could convince him (Khan) to stop pursuing the Panama Papers case before the Supreme Court.

In a written reply submitted in response to a defamation suit filed in 2017 by Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, Mr Khan said he disclosed the incident for the consumption of the public at large and in the interest of the public good which does not constitute any defamation.

“The narration of the incident is neither baseless nor unfounded as it is based on the occurrence of an incident, i.e. the visit of Mr Omar Farooq and his relaying of the offer,” states the reply of the prime minister filed by his legal team on Tuesday before a sessions court.

The reply further states that Mr Khan did not specifically attribute any statement to the plaintiff (Shehbaz) while narrating the incident. It says the plaintiff and the defendant are political rivals and have been facing each other in the political arena for more than two decades. Shehbaz himself made numerous defaming and malicious statements against Mr Khan, leaders of PTI and other political parties in the past.

The prime minister in his reply reiterated that the narration of the incident had been relayed in the public interest, in a fair manner and is in no way an assertion which was factually wrong or malicious.

Mr Khan asks the court to dismiss the suit as Shehbaz is not entitled to any damages.

In his reply, the prime minster also challenges the territorial jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.

Previously, the legal team of Mr Khan had also questioned the territorial jurisdiction of the court, however, withdrew the same.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Mudassir Farid adjourned further hearing of the suit till Aug 4.

The legal counsel for Shehbaz requested the court to issue frames on the next hearing.

The defamation suit states that Khan uttered false and malicious statements against Shehbaz that the latter offered Rs10 billion to the former through a common friend in exchange of withdrawing the case of Panama Papers pending before the Supreme Court. It says the plaintiff served a legal notice on the defendant asking him to tender a proper apology within 14 days through print and electronic media. However, the defendant failed to make an apology and the plaintiff was left with no option but to approach the court for recovery of damages.

The suit pleads that the baseless and defamatory statements by the defendant widely circulated by media lowered the integrity of the plaintiff and caused him extreme mental torture, agony and anxiety. The court has been requested to issue a decree for recovery of Rs10 billion as compensation for the publication of defamatory content in favour of the plaintiff.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

UAE targeted
Updated 19 Jan, 2022

UAE targeted

MONDAY’S deadly drone strikes by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeting the UAE, and subsequent retaliatory attacks on...
19 Jan, 2022

New province debate

THE private bill introduced by a PML-N senator seeking a new province in south Punjab amounts to oversimplification...
19 Jan, 2022

Omicron in Karachi

WITH the wedding season in full swing, it is no surprise that the Covid positivity rate in Karachi has been touching...
The establishment pivot
18 Jan, 2022

The establishment pivot

It is a sad reality that the power matrix continues to revolve around the establishment.
18 Jan, 2022

Remittances growth

THE hefty growth in remittances from Pakistanis living abroad continues to defy forecasts to the contrary. New State...
18 Jan, 2022

China-Iran deal

THE China-Iran strategic deal that has recently taken effect is more than just a long-term bilateral agreement...