LAHORE: A local court on Saturday adjourned a defamation suit filed by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, till Nov 22.
Shehbaz sued the PTI chairman for Rs10 billion damages for accusing him of offering a bribe to stay silent over the Panama Papers allegations against the Sharif family.
The sessions court put off the hearing after a junior counsel representing PTI told it that senior counsel Babar Awan was not in Lahore and sought time to present arguments in the case.
In his lawsuit, Shehbaz Sharif said,“The defendant (Imran Khan) levelled maliciously false, baseless and unfounded allegations against him.” “He also levelled the same allegations no less than three times in television programme aired on April 26 this year.”
The plaintiff said that he had served a legal notice through his counsel on the defendant on May 8, 2017, under Section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance, 2002 calling upon him to tender a proper apology within 14 days of the receipt of the notice. Upon failing, he warned, he will initiate legal action against the defendant for recovery of Rs10 billion as damages under the law. However, Khan failed to tender an apology.
Sharif’s lawyer said that considering the seriousness of defamatory allegations and consistency with which he levelled allegations, his client is entitled to a claim of compensation.
With the Panama Papers revelations about the first family’s London properties having triggered a political storm in Pakistan, the PTI chairman went to claim that the Punjab CM had offered him Rs10 billion through one of his close associates to stay silent over the Panamagate case.
Subsequently, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders had demanded Khan to disclose the name of the person who conveyed the offer to him. To which the PTI chairman said that over the disclosure of the name, the person could face the wrath of the rulers, as what he had said, the ruling party was not a democratic party but a group of fascists scapegoating others to safeguard their personal interests.