Wednesday Sep 22, 2021
LAHORE: An additional district and sessions court judge Wednesday summoned Prime Minister Imran Khan in the court over a defamation lawsuit filed by the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Shahbaz Sharif.
Shahbaz has claimed in the petition that PM Imran Khan "falsely accused him of offering money to him to stay silent in the Panama Papers case."
“PM Imran Khan’s allegation damaged my reputation,” maintained Shahbaz in the petition.
After hearing the petition, the additional district and sessions court judge issued a written order, stating that the counsels representing PM Imran Khan took back all the pleas challenging the maintainability of the case.
The order further stated that the court has also dismissed all miscellaneous pleas filed by the complainant, Shahbaz.
The court remarked that the hearings will be adjourned for shorter periods from now on for a quicker conclusion of the case.
It also directed Shahbaz and PM Imran Khan to appear before the court with their lawyers on the next hearing, which is on October 6.
In 2017, Shehbaz Sharif sent a Rs10 billion defamation notice to the PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
The notice, which had been filed under sections 4 and 9 of the Defamation Ordinance, 2002, stated that Imran falsely accused Shehbaz of making him a financial offer for his 'silence over the Panama Papers case'.
The petition stated that “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].”
Moreover, it said that Imran claimed that Shehbaz “offered to pay a sum of Rs10,000,000,000 to the defendant in exchange for his withdrawing/backing-off from, or remaining silent on the issue of the Panama Papers case.”
In April 2017, Khan during a gathering at Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Lahore, alleged that he had been made an offer in the Panama case.
"Just imagine how much money he offered me to be silent — Rs10 billion! If he can offer me this much money, just imagine how much he could offer to others. That is why if we don't maintain public pressure on this issue, then after two months it will be dragged to the next year," Khan had claimed.
In an interview televised following the statement, Khan had refused to reveal the name of the person who made the offer but did state that this person was close to the Punjab chief minister.