Friday, October 29, 2021

Nasir Butt wins defamation case, secures apology and damages at UK court

Butt was called a "killer, organised criminal, blackmailer, and gangster" on New Vision Television

PML-N leader Nasir Butt. File photo
PML-N leader Nasir Butt. File photo

LONDON: Nasir Butt has won a defamation case at a UK court against New Vision Television (NVTV) over several broadcasts in which he was called a "killer, organised criminal, blackmailer, and gangster" soon after Maryam Nawaz Sharif released Judge Arshed Malik’s video carrying a confession that he was "blackmailed to convict Nawaz Sharif."

Nasir Mehmood Butt had sued NVTV, a broadcaster of ARY in the UK, at the London High Court, alleging that he was "defamed, maligned, and targeted by NVTV in the UK after he secretly filmed the accountability court judge confessing that he was blackmailed and put under pressure to convict Nawaz Sharif at any cost in the Avenfield flats case."

Nasir Butt had sued the news channel over allegations made on the TV channel by the then information minister Firdous Ashiq Awan; allegations made in Programme "Sawal Yeh Hai", and allegations made by PTI’s Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan.

In an apology submitted at the London High Court to conclude the case with Nasir Butt, the NVTV said: “On 6 July 2019, New Vision television broadcast a number of programmes which contained reports that Nasir Mehmood, who is more commonly known as Nasir Butt, is a murderer, an organised criminal and important member of a drugs cartel who has fled from justice in Pakistan."

“On 7 July 2019, New Vision television broadcast a programme which contained a report that Nasir Butt is an organised criminal.

“On 14 July 2019, New Vision television broadcast a programme which contained comments from The Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan that Nasir Butt had fled from justice in Pakistan.

"Nasir Butt has informed us, and we are prepared to accept, that he is not a murderer, he is not an organised criminal and not a member of a drugs cartel, and he has not fled from justice in Pakistan.

“We apologise to Nasir Butt for the distress, upset and embarrassment which these broadcasts have caused him. We have agreed to pay Mr Nasir Butt damages for libel and his legal costs.”

Nasir Mehmood Butt, who is the Senior Vice President of the United Kingdom chapter of the Pakistani Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN), had launched a High Court claim on the basis that on 6th July 2019 Firdous 

Ashiq Awan alleged that Maryam Safdar has done a dirty job by running a video in the name of Nasir Butt.

"It’s important to expose the true face of Nasir Butt before the nation; Nasir Butt is a world-renowned known killer, fugitive and leader of the gang; crucial member of the drugs selling cartel and fled to England after five murders in 302 case and remained wanted for 20 years; Nasir Butt’s thuggery continued in London; Outside Park Lane flats, Nasir Butt brawled with protesting PTI workers and snatched a mobile phone. The question also is why judge Arshed Malik met someone like Nasir Butt. The judge video scandal’s central character Nasir Butt doesn’t have a good reputation in the UK," Awan had alleged.

On 7th July 2019, Nasir Butt claimed he was called a “confirmed gangster” in the “Sawal Yeh Hai” programme.

Nasir Butt further claimed that on 14th July 2019 on NVTV, Ali Muhammad Khan, the Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, linked Nasir Butt with  the “Sicilian Mafia”.

Ali Muhammad Khan had said: “Maryam Nawaz Sharif has launched a suicide attack. If you look at the video and the characters in it. Doesn’t it seem to you that the judgement was given by Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Mr Justice Khosa, who was a senior judge then and not the chief justice then but a Chief Justice now, which talks about mafia and Sicilian mafia? Can’t you see the Sicilian Mafia? On the one hand is Butt, no idea about the number of cases in which he’s a fugitive; I don’t know what his character is. He’s the main front man of Mian (Nawaz Sharif) in London and here and he’s a fugitive from here and no idea from how many other places he’s a fugitive from. Second, there’s a story of Nasir Janjua. Then there’s Tariq, who don’t know what kind of blackmailer he is. All the people involved in the making of this video are from Muslim League and degraded ones. They are from top leadership, involved in the case and notorious.”

Nasir Butt’s lawyer claimed that these words carried the meaning that Nasir Butt was involved in organised criminality and was linked with the mafia. The lawyers told the court that Nasir Butt was a man of good character and he was targeted for political reasons by the government authorities because he had revealed that Judge Arshed Malik didn’t find evidence of corruption against Nawaz Sharif but he was convicted because he was blackmailed.

Nasir Butt said in a statement to media: “I am vindicated at the London High Court. I dedicate my defamation case victory to Nawaz Sharif. Judge Arshed Malik revealed one of the biggest truths of Pakistan’s political history that he was used to targeting the three times elected prime minister of Pakistan but on orders of the government, Pakistani media attacked me to suppress the truth. The late judge told me several times, before I filmed him, that he was full of remorse and regret that he jailed an innocent Nawaz Sharif. He asked me to take him to meet Nawaz Sharif where he apologized to Nawaz Sharif and said he had no choice but to convict him because he was shown a compromising video by some powerful people who told him to make a decision against Nawaz Sharif or the video will be released. 

Judge Arshed Malik said it was "clear that Nawaz Sharif has not done any kind of corruption but was targeted to rig the 2018 elections to throw him in jail to facilitate a new political order. I am thankful to Almighty Allah that even in UK courts, Nawaz Sharif’s honour and integrity stand cleared."

"The PTI government, especially Shehzad Akbar, used the FIA and the police against my family, chained my family members, and treated them like terrorists and offered us to stop supporting Nawaz Sharif but we told them we will stand with Nawaz Sharif forever. I have a firm belief that these characters will face justice for their crimes against Pakistan. My claim against other TV channels continues.”