ISLAMABAD: In an interesting chain of events, Minister for Health Abdul Qadir Patel has found himself sandwiched between his own party’s ire and a rival party’s legal firepower as the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has served him a show-cause notice, while PTI chairman Imran Khan fired back with a Rs10 billion defamation notice over a fiery press conference.
Surprisingly, the PPP has issued a show-cause notice to its health minister for not taking the party into confidence before holding a news conference against the PTI chairman on May 26. During the conference, Patel had claimed that “traces of alcohol and cocaine were found in the former premier’s urine analysis”.
Patel had held the presser on Imran’s medical report, which was taken after he underwent an examination at PIMS hospital following his arrest on May 9 in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
Sources familiar with the matter revealed that the PPP chairman’s office has issued the show-cause notice to the health minister and expressed extreme displeasure, as the minister held the press conference on his own without first bringing it to the party’s attention.
“The chairman’s office is not happy with Patel’s press conference and has not only expressed displeasure but also issued a show-cause notice to him,” a source in the PPP told The Express Tribune. The PPP leader stated that “the party was not consulted before the presser,” and that “he (Patel) did it on his own”.
Through the show-cause notice, the sources said that Patel has been directed to explain his position within a week’s time. A PPP lawmaker explained that taking the party leadership into confidence is crucial, as the party has to move forward on different platforms and defend its position when necessary.
Just as the PPP issued a notice to Patel, Imran also sent him a hefty defamation notice regarding the “dissemination and circulation of wrongful, baseless, false, misleading, erroneous, malicious, and defamatory information” against him during the press conference.
Faced with a dual deluge of notices from his own party and the rival party, Patel met with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar on Tuesday in the parliament, presumably to consult over the double whammy.
Patel met Tarar in Minister for Commerce Naveed Qamar’s chamber but did not stop to answer any queries when they walked out of the chamber. Usually, Patel is among the outspoken lawmakers, but he did not say anything on Tuesday before the assembly’s session.
During the press conference, Patel, while referring to the initial medical report, claimed that Imran’s “mental stability is questionable.” Reading from the report, Patel said that Imran had little insight into the seriousness and reality of the current situation.
In response to the press conference, Imran, through his counsel, sent a defamation notice to Patel, stating that his remarks were made “knowingly, consciously, willingly, deliberately, and maliciously, which is highly irrational and goes against the principles of ethics and morals.”
The notice demanded that Patel retract his statements, tender an unconditional apology, pay Rs10 billion for defamation, and added that the money would be donated to Shaukat Khanam Memorial Cancer Hospital. Non-compliance would result in legal proceedings.