Shehbaz’s Plea Denied by UK Court

The publisher of the Daily Mail was sued for defamation by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son-in-law Imran Ali Yousaf.

The judge of the UK High Court ordered the defendant to pay 30,000 pounds in costs to the plaintiff. 

When Shehbaz Sharif was Punjab’s chief minister, the tabloid published a story suggesting that he had stolen and laundered humanitarian funds from the UK government. In January 2020, Mr. Sharif sued for defamation for the “grotesque allegation,” requesting a retraction, financial compensation, and an apology. The newspaper responded to Mr. Sharif’s defamation lawsuit in a 50-page document in March of this year. 

Court Rejected Shehbaz Sharif Request

The court rejected Mr. Sharif and Mr. Yousaf’s request for a stay order on the proceedings, according to an order made on Nov. 9 by Justice Nicklin of the King’s Bench Division. The court also ordered that the two claimants respond to the newspaper’s defence and pay the newspaper’s legal fees for the prior litigation related to the stay application. 

“The defendant’s [paper’s] costs of and occasioned by a) the stay application b) his original reply (including the costs arising from the process by which extensions of time were sought and agreed in respect of the same) must be paid by the first claimant [Sharif],” according to the order. 

Mr. Sharif was mandated to give the defendant 30,000 pounds by November 23. The court further stated that the modified replies to the defence set forth in the paper must be filed and served by both Mr. Sharif and his son-in-law, and that if the replies do not comply with CPR PD 53B paragraph 4.7, they would be rejected. 

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According to the relevant section of the Defamation Act 2013, paragraph 4.7, “Where a defendant relies on a defence under section 2 (truth), section 3 (honest opinion), or section 4 (publication on a matter of public interest), the claimant must serve a reply specifically admitting, not admitting, or denying that defence and setting out the claimant’s case in response to each fact alleged by the defendant in respect of it.” 

This implies that in their submission, Mr. Sharif and his son-in-law must address every point raised in the paper’s response. 

On Friday, Marriyum Aurangzeb, the minister of information, asserted that the British publication had failed to substantiate the charges made against PM Sharif regarding alleged corruption of public funds by its journalist David Rose. 

She declared in a statement that the publication would now have to deal with the law. 

The trial in the defamation action would take place in “December 2023,” according to Ms. Aurangzeb. She stated that the judge had set the case’s next hearing for December 13 and that the response to the claims had to be submitted by that date. 

The minister declared that the case’s expenses had been covered and that “we have already prevailed on the stage of presentation.” She claimed that the British newspaper chose to use stalling strategies in the situation.

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