Defamation case adjourned against Pak PM

A local court adjourned hearing into a defamation suit filed by former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), MPA Fauzia Bibi against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan due to his lawyer’s failure to turn up.

Additional district and sessions judge Shah Waliullah Hamid Hashmi fixed January 3 for the next hearing observing that the court will hear arguments about a request of Mr Imran to return the lawsuit for lacking jurisdiction to hear it, Dawn reported.

The former MPA, who was elected on reserved seats for women on the PTI’s ticket, has filed the lawsuit for recovery of damages to the tune of Rs 500 million for defaming her through leveling ‘baseless’ allegations against her- of horse trading in the Senate election.

The suit was filed in June this year under the Defamation Ordinance, 2002. The only defendant in the lawsuit is Mr Imran as PTI chief.

Lawyer Habib Qureshi appeared before the court and said as Imran’s counsel Babar Awan was busy with some case hearings in the Supreme Court, he was not able to visit Peshawar to appear before the court in the case.

He sought the adjournment of the hearing. During a hearing, Mr Babar had filed the application under Order 7 Rule 10 of Code of Civil Procedure, saying the press conference in question addressed by his client was held in Islamabad and not in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He had said the committee constituted for taking action against the plaintiff was also constituted there. The lawyer added that as the cause of action arose there, therefore, it was not in the jurisdiction of the present court to deal with this case.

Syed Gufranullah Shah, lawyer representing the plaintiff, said the defendant’s counsel had been using delaying tactics. He requested the court to dismiss the application filed on behalf of Mr Imran as the court had the jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit.

The lawyer said his client was member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and the statement of Mr Imran was related to her stint as member of the assembly. He stated that the allegations against the plaintiff were leveled in connection of Senate Elections for which she had cast vote at the KP Assembly.

He argued that the Defamation Ordinance 2002 was a special law and it had overriding effect over other laws. He added that under the said law the Peshawar district court was the relevant forum for hearing the defamation suit.

The lawyer said in the Senate polls held on Mar 3, his client had followed the direction with effect to cast vote in favour of all the candidates of her party nominated against general and reserved seats for women and technocrats.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claimed that after the Senate polls, Mr Imran began uttering, spreading and resorting to publication, communication and circulation of maliciously false, baseless and unfounded oral statements and representation against the plaintiff.

The Insides Speak.