A United Kingdom (UK) court has denied Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s request for an indefinite adjournment in the Daily Mail defamation case.
Justice Matthew Nicklin, who heard the case, denied more time to Sharif, according to British media. The prime minister’s counsels told the court Sharif had his hands full with commitments. The court, they said, should grant him more time to present answers.
Justice Nicklin reportedly responded to him by remarking how the prime minister was on par with a common man before his court, according to Geo. The PM and his son-in-law Ali Imran will have to foot the bill of all legal costs incurred by the defendants if they do not furnish responses to Daily Mail lawyers.
The prime minister had served a legal notice on Daily Mail and journalist David Rose in 2019. Citing a story carried by the paper on July 14 the same year, the notice claimed the article was “gravely defamatory”. “The article is gravely defamatory of Shehbaz, including false allegations that he misappropriated UK taxpayers’ money in the form of Department for International Development (DFID) aid intended for the victims of the devastating 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. Shehbaz denies these allegations,” according to The Express Tribune.
“I am utterly appalled by these allegations. It is disgusting for the Mail to claim that I stole money from a fund for earthquake victims. Clearly were there any evidence in support of this, or any of the other allegations contained in the article against me, then I would have been arrested and charged.
“This appears to be yet another politically motivated campaign against me and my family by the current government of Pakistan, which, according to the article, granted the journalist ‘exclusive access to some of the results of a high-level probe ordered by [Pakistani Prime Minister] Imran Khan’ including a ‘confidential investigation report’ and highly unusual access to ‘interview key witnesses held on remand in jail’,” the paper quoted Sharif as having said in the notice.