LAHORE: A local court on Monday directed Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s counsel to respond to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan’s plea seeking dismissal of Rs10 billion defamation suit against him.
Shahbaz sued the PTI chairman for Rs10 billion damages for accusing him of offering bribe to stay silent over the Panama Papers allegations against the Sharif family.
Khan’s lawyer filed an application in the main case, contending that the suit was not maintainble and requested the judge to dismiss it.
Adjourning till Oct 19, the court directed the chief minister’s counsel to submit his response to the application on next hearing.
In his lawsuit CM Shahbaz said,“The defendant (Imran Khan) leveled maliciously false, baseless and unfounded allegations against him.” “He also leveled the same allegations no less than three times in television programme ‘Off the Record’ aired on ARY News 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 apology.
Sharif’s lawyer said that considering the seriousness of defamatory allegations and consistency with which he leveled allegations, his client is entitled to a claim of compensation.
With the Panama Papers revelations about the first family’s London properties having triggered 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 offer to him. To which the PTI chairman said that over 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.