A UK High Court judge has ordered Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son-in-law to file a reply in a defamation suit they brought against the publisher of a leading British newspaper and also ordered the premier to pay 30,000 pounds in costs to the defendant.
In 2019, the Mail On Sunday published an article alleging that Sharif had stolen and laundered the UK government’s aid money while he was the chief minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Sharif filed a defamation claim against the “grotesque allegation” in January 2020, claiming a retraction, damages and an apology. In March this year, the newspaper submitted a 50-page response to Sharif’s defamation suit, the Dawn newspaper reported on Saturday.
According to an order issued on November 9 by Justice Nicklin of the King’s Bench Division, Sharif and his son-in-law Imran Ali Yousaf’s request for a stay order on proceedings was denied by the court, which has demanded that the two claimants respond to the defence presented by the newspaper and also pay the cost for earlier litigation incurred by the paper for the stay application, the report said.
“The first claimant [Sharif] must pay the defendant’s [paper’s] costs of and occasioned by a) the stay application b) his original reply (including the costs arising from the process by which extensions of time were sought and agreed in respect of the same,” the order read.
Sharif was ordered to pay the sum of 30,000 pounds to the defendant by November 23, the Pakistani newspaper reported.
Pakistan’s Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb claimed on Friday that the British newspaper had failed to prove the allegations levelled in the article against Sharif about the alleged misappropriation of public funds.
She said the judge had fixed December 13 for the next hearing of the case.