A sessions court in Lahore issued notice to Prime Minister Imran Khan on the Rs10 billion suit for damages filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif under the Defamation Ordinance, 2002.
A sessions court in Lahore issued notices to Prime Minister Imran Khan and others in the Rs10 billion suit for damages filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif under the Defamation Ordinance, 2002.
The case started in 2017, when Shehbaz, who was then the chief minister of Punjab, sent a Rs10 billion defamation notice to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman, stating that the latter had falsely accused the former of having “offered to pay a sum of Rs10,000,000,000 to the defendant in exchange for his withdrawing/backing-off from, or remaining silent on the issue of the Panama Papers’ case”.
On Friday, the PML-N president submitted a plea to expedite the defamation suit, which was heard by Judge Sohail Anjum.
In his plea, Shehbaz’s lawyer said that PM Imran is not presenting before the court in the case. He said that defamation case against the premier is pending since past three years.
Following the arguments, the court subsequently issued a notice to the nominated parties’ lawyers for a response.
On Thursday, PML-N Secretary Information Marriyum Aurangzeb had challenged the prime minister to submit a formal response over his claim of “hush money” allegedly offered by the opposition leader, saying that if the premier does not do so then he would not be morally eligible to hold office.
Talking to media, Marriyum had said that the premier would also cease to be righteous and trustworthy in the light of Article 62, 63 of the Constitution. “A lying, sugar robbing, incompetent and unqualified person does not deserve to be the leader of the great Pakistani nation. The person who is playing with the lives of his countrymen does not deserve to hold the office of the prime minister,” she had added.
The former information minister had said that the leader of the “NAB-Niazi alliance”, Imran, had been an absconder from the case for the past three years by delaying proceedings 33 times.
She had said for the past six years, he had been an absconder in the foreign funding case in addition to the 23 secret accounts case which he delayed for two years.
Marriyum clarified that Babar Awan could not represent PM Imran in the case because he was a government office holder and called out the hypocrisy of the system, saying the court had conveniently excused him appearing in court over the danger of contracting Covid-19 but Shehbaz was summoned twice a week.
She said the court had given Imran a last chance to submit his reply by 22 June and showed Lahore Addition Session Judge Sohail Anjum’s order in which Imran’s counsel Dr Babar Awan had requested a leave of absence due to coronavirus.