Ishaq Dar wins defamation case against ARY in UK
October 19, 2021 01:52 PM
Pakistan Muslim League (N) Leader and Pakistan’s former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has won his defamation case against ARY in the UK 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 ARY anchors Chaudhary Ghulam Hussain and Sabir Shakir on the Reporters’ Programme and by Shahzad Akbar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability, on Powerplay programme by Arshed Sharif.
Sabir Shakir and Ch Ghulam Hussain made false allegations against Ishaq Dar on 8 July 2019 and Shahzad Akbar made false allegations against Dar on 8 August 2019.
Ishaq Dar took legal action and filed a defamation case at the London High Court. It is not known how much Ishaq Dar has exactly won the demanded £200,000 but it is believed that the amount he has won is around £100,000 besides legal costs to his lawyers.
The ARY anchors and Shahzad Akbar had accused that Ishaq Dar was involved in money-laundering, corruption, undue control of the Financial Monitoring Unit and being involved in issuing death threats.
In an apology to Ishaq Dar read out on ARY in the UK, the channel said it can confirm it had made false allegations against Dar. The channel apologized to Ishaq Dar and said it is sorry and withdraws all allegations. ARY said it has withdrawn all allegations as false, fabricated and baseless and agreed to pay damages and legal costs to Mr Ishaq Dar for the hurt, embarrassment and defamation caused.
The ARY said in its apology to Ishaq Dar: “On 8 July 2019, New Vision television broadcast the Reporters programme in which it was asserted by Choudhury Ghulam Hussain and Sabir Shakir that Mr Ishaq Dar had stolen money from the Pakistani Government and was willing to pay it back if allowed to return to Pakistan. It was also asserted that Mr Ishaq Dar’s bank accounts had been traced and that they contained large sums of stolen money in the region of one billion dollars. Further comments were made, asserting that Mr Ishaq Dar had caused someone to be subjected to death threats in order to encourage that person to leave Pakistan.”
“Mr Ishaq Dar has informed us, and we are prepared to accept, first, that he has not stolen any money from the Pakistani Government, secondly, that no bank account of Mr Ishaq Dar was traced, and consequently, the question of any stolen money does not arise, thirdly, that the claim that Mr Ishaq Dar was willing to pay any such money in order to return to Pakistan was also false and fabricated, and fourthly that Mr Ishaq Dar never made death threats to anyone.”
About the allegations made by Shehzad Akbar, the NVTV apologized and said: “On 8 August 2019, New Vision television broadcast the Powerplay programme. During the course of that programme, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar asserted that during the period Ishaq Dar was responsible for the Financial Monitoring Unit in Pakistan, he actively and improperly impeded its work, by preventing key institutions from accessing systems that would assist it in its functions. It was further asserted that Mr Ishaq Dar had taken those actions to protect individuals who had been involved in the Choudhury Sugar Mills money laundering case.
“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 case at 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; 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 he 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 broadcasts constituted very 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.
Dar denied all allegations as a politically motivated witch-hunt and claimed damages for libel, including aggravated damages and a full apology and retraction of all allegations.
The apology of ARY concluded: “We unconditionally apologise to Mr Ishaq Dar for the significant distress, upset and embarrassment which these broadcasts have caused him. We have agreed to pay Mr Ishaq Dar substantial damages for libel and to pay his legal costs.”
Commenting on his victory, Ishaq Dar said: “Alhamdulllah. I have been vindicated at the UK High Court and justice has prevailed. The allegations made against me were false, malafide and evil. I have never been involved in corruption or any unlawful activity and never used any influence against any institution. The allegations made by the pro-government media house and Shehzad Akbar were aimed at damaging my reputation but Allah SWT has been most kind and the TV channel has accepted in the UK judicial process that the allegations were fabricated, false and untrue. The TV channel has accepted that I was maligned and nothing wrong had been done by me. I am humbled and thankful to Almighty Allah for this victory which has come through an independent judicial process of the UK High Court. It proves how our leader Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, his family and party colleagues have been subjected to political engineering and malicious campaign of lies but Allah SWT in His infinite mercy has been helping us by protecting our reputation and establishing our innocence at the international courts. I am thankful to all those democratic leaders and workers who always stood by me and never believed in the allegations thrown at me.”
Reporter: Asad Ali Malik