LAHORE – Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif filed a defamation suit in the court of district judge in Lahore today (Monday) against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan over his claim that the ruling government had offered him Rs10 billion bribe to keep mum on the issue of Panama Papers case.
Shehbaz Sharif has claimed Rs10 billion in damages from Khan under sections 4 and 9 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002 for allegedly lying and defaming his reputation.
After filing the suite, the chief minister posted a message on Twitter:
Sued IK for slander … Imagine, having to force him to stop lying for fear of monetary loss, and not of face or honour …
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 7, 2017
The petition submitted through Advocate Mustafa Ramday states that the “plaintiff belongs to a noble family and is a highly respectable individual, who enjoys an excellent reputation in both national and international circles, having a long and illustrious career in politics and public service to his credit. He is incumbent Chief Minister of the Province of Punjab, and brother of the incumbent Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.”
“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] to the effect that the Plaintiff had, through some person/relative, apparently known to the Defendant as well, offered to pay a sum of Rs100,000,000,000/- (Rupees Ten Billion) to the Defendant in exchange for his withdrawing/backing-off from, or remain silent on the issue of the Panama Papers’ case,” the petition said.
“It is, therefore, most respectfully prayed that a decree for recovery of Rs 10,000,000,000 (Rupees Ten Billion) as compensation for the publication of the aforesaid defamatory content be passed against the defendant (Imran Khan) and in favour of the plaintiff,” the petition added.
On this, Additional District and Sessions Judge Azfar Sultan issued a notice to Imran Khan to appear on July 21.
On the other hand, Imran Khan while talking to newsmen at Nathia Galli expressed that he was eagerly waiting for Shehbaz Sharif to go court against him over his claims as it would fully expose the chief minister.
Responding to the defamation suit, Imran Khan said that since he does not own Rs10b, he will ask Shahbaz Sharif’s sons Salman and Hamza for a loan since “all the children in Sharif family have somehow become billionaires.”
“Defamation suits are filed when someone’s reputation is tainted. How can your reputation be tainted when you do not have a reputation?” Khan asked, repeating his accusations of corruption. “I am waiting for you to take me to the court so I can tell the world who you really are.”
The legal battle that is likely to make headlines in coming weeks started after Imran Khan claimed that a “mutual friend” of him and Sharif family made an offer of Rs 10bn to him on behalf of Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz so that he keeps his lips tightened regarding the Panama Leaks.
The PTI supremo did not reveal the name of the mysterious friend while Sharif family including Maryam Nawaz dubbed him a liar for his claims.
When pressure ramped up on the cricketer-turned-politician he agreed to disclose the name of the person but only in front of the court.
On the other hand, Pakistan peoples Party stalwart Nabeel Gabol divulged that the man who allegedly offered Imran Khan a staggering Rs 10 billion as bribe on behalf of Sharif family was ‘ Umer Farooq Goldie’, the owner of Shapes fitness gym Lahore.
However, when Goldie was contacted by The News, he denied the allegations altogether.
“Impossible. Neither did anyone make any such offer to me nor did I come to know about any such development,” Goldie claimed.