LONDON: Private channel New Vision TV, the broadcaster of ARY UK, has issued an apology to London-based PML-N leader Nasir Butt for airing a programme in which he was called a “criminal, a multiple murderer and a member of a drug cartel”.
Just weeks after issuing an apology to former finance minister and PML-N leader Ishaq Dar, it emerged that ARY UK has apologised to Mr Butt for “the distress, upset and embarrassment which these broadcasts had caused him”.
The first show, which contained the defamatory remarks, was aired on July 14, 2019. It contained comments from Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan who claimed that Mr Butt had fled justice from Pakistan.
Prior to that, on July 7, 2019, the channel aired a show in which it was alleged that Mr Butt is an organised criminal.
ARY’s UK broadcaster will also pay Nasir Butt damages, legal costs
Mr Butt’s counsel filed a defamation claim in the High Court of Justice, demanding an apology, damages and a retraction.
ARY UK said it accepts that Mr Butt is not an organised criminal, triple murderer or member of a drug cartel. It also agreed to pay damages and his legal costs.
The central figure in the controversy surrounding leaked videos of the late district and sessions court judge Arshad Malik has been in London since September 2019. Mr Butt came into the spotlight on July 6, 2019 when the PML-N leadership held a press conference and alleged that the judge had been “blackmailed” into passing a verdict against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference.
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz made a set of videos public at the press conference, which purportedly show Mr Butt in conversation with judge Malik at the latter’s house.
The PML-N accused judge Malik of convicting Mr Sharif under duress.
However, the judge claimed he was blackmailed by the PML-N supporters.
In July, the Federal Investigation Agency conducted a raid at a Rawalpindi house owned by Mr Butt and claimed to have recovered “important documents”. Judge Malik had earlier lodged a case with the FIA against Mr Butt and others.
Judge Malik passed away in December 2020 after contracting coronavirus.
Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2021