LAHORE: The sessions court on Friday gave Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s counsel a last chance to appear in court in a defamation case filed by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif for Rs 10 billion.
Imran’s counsel Babar Awan has evaded the court since the case’s filing in July last year.
At Friday’s hearing of the case, the chief minister’s counsel informed the court that Awan is using delaying tactics to dodge the court and challenging its jurisdiction. Awan has now been given a last chance to appear and present his arguments. The hearing was adjourned until February 17.
Imran Khan during a public gathering last year on April 25, 2017, had alleged that Shehbaz Sharif had offered him Rs 10 billion to stay out of the Panama Papers case against the Sharif family and remain shush about it.
The petition filed in the Lahore court under Sections 4 (defamation actionable) and 9 (remedies) of Defamation Ordinance, 2002, states that “The facts and circumstances giving rise to the filing of the instant suit are that since the last week of April 2017, the Defendant [Imran Khan] started uttering, spreading and resorting to the publication, communication and circulation of maliciously false, baseless and unfounded oral statements and representations against the Plaintiff [Shehbaz].”
Furthermore, it states that Imran claimed Shehbaz “offered to pay a sum of Rs 10,000,000,000 to the defendant in exchange of him withdrawing/backing-off from, or remaining silent on the issue of the Panama Papers case.”
“Just imagine how much money he offered me to be silent — Rs10 billion! If he can offer me this much money, just imagine how much he could offer others. That is why if we don’t maintain public pressure on this issue, then after two months it will be dragged to the next year,” Khan had claimed.