Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former finance minister Ishaq Dar has won his defamation case against private channel ARY News at the London High Court.
Ishaq Dar had sued ARY – which operates under the company name New Vision Television (NVTV) in UK and Europe – for £200,000 damages, apology and legal costs for allegations made by the channel’s anchors Chaudhary Ghulam Hussain and Sabir Shakir on the Reporters’ Programe and by Shahzad Akbar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability, on Powerplay programme by Arshed Sharif.
Sabir Shakir and Ch. Ghulam Hussain had levelled these allegations against Ishaq Dar on 8 July 2019 and Shahzad Akbar issued the remarks against Dar on 8 August 2019.
Taking legal action against them, Ishaq Dar filed a defamation case at the London High Court. It remains unclear as to how much amount Ishaq Dar has won of the demanded £200,000. Unconfirmed reports however suggest that the amount he has won is around £100,000, besides legal costs to his lawyers.
The ARY anchors and Shahzad Akbar had accused Ishaq Dar of being involved in money-laundering, corruption, undue control of Financial Monitoring Unit and issuing death threats.
In an apology to Ishaq Dar read out on ARY in UK, the channel said it can confirm it had made false allegations against Dar. The channel apologised to Ishaq Dar and withdrew all allegations. ARY said it has withdrawn all allegations as false, fabricated and baseless and agreed to pay damages and legal costs to Ishaq Dar ‘for the hurt, embarrassment and defamation caused’.
In its apology note, ARY said: “Mr Ishaq Dar has informed us, and we are prepared to accept, that he never managed the Financial Monitoring Unit, since the Unit was established under the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010 and operates directly under the State Bank of Pakistan; and therefore, Mr Ishaq Dar never impeded the work of Financial Monitoring Unit nor did he do anything to protect anybody in any case including the alleged Choudhury Sugar Mills money laundering case.”
In his complaint submitted to the London High Court, Ishaq Dar had claimed that the allegations made in two programs were understood to mean that he had stolen money from the Pakistani government and was willing to pay it back if allowed to return to Pakistan. He added that the claim made during the shows further implied that his bank accounts have been traced and they contain large sums of stolen money, in the region of one billion dollars; that he issued death threats and that was responsible for preventing the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and other key institutions from working, including being involved in fraudulently protecting the individuals who had been involved in the Chaudhary Sugar Mills money laundering case.
Ishaq Dar claimed that the imputations conveyed in the aforesaid broadcast constituted serious defamatory allegations of which he was reported to be guilty. Dar had claimed he suffered very serious harm to his reputation and has suffered considerable hurt, distress and embarrassment.
He rubbished all allegations as politically motivated witch-hunt and claimed damages for libel, including aggravated damages and a full apology and retraction of all allegations.