Ishaq Dar wins on morality | By Naveed Aman Khan


Ishaq Dar wins on morality

ANY case against any one can be filed in the court. The honourable courts demand proof and evidence to decide the cases.

A private Pakistani channel has issued an apology to Ishaq Dar, former Finance Minister and said its allegations of corruption and misuse of authority against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader were fabricated.

The defamatory remarks were made in two news shows aired by the channel on July 8, 2019 and Aug 8, 2019.

In the latter programme, Shahzad Akbar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability, had alleged that Ishaq Dar had managed and actively impeded the work of the Financial Monitoring Unit in Pakistan by preventing institutions from accessing the systems.

It was also alleged that Ishaq Dar had taken these steps to protect individuals involved in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills money laundering case.

Ishaq Dar issued proceedings against the channel for these defamatory statements in July 2020 and served a claim in the UK High Court in November the same year.

On March 2, 2021, the channel made an offer for amends — a procedure introduced by the UK’s Defamation Act 1996, whereby a defendant in an action for defamation may make a written offer to publish an apology and pay damages.

Acceptance of such an offer terminates defamation proceedings and parties settle between themselves.

In a statement of apology aired it accepts that Ishaq Dar neither managed the Financial Monitoring Unit and impeded its work, nor did he do anything to protect anybody in any case including the alleged Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

The channel unconditionally apologized to Ishaq Dar for the significant distress, upset and embarrassment which these broadcasts have caused him. Along with a restriction and apology, Ishaq Dar had claimed damages for libel of around GBP 200,000 along with legal costs.

Ishaq Dar in his claim had maintained that the imputations conveyed by the publication constitute very serious defamatory allegations of which the claimant is said to be guilty as a matter of fact and had caused serious harm.

Ishaq Dar said this development proves how Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and his party colleagues have been subjected to political engineering and malicious campaign of lies. Ishaq Dar has been vindicated and the allegations made against him were false, malafide and evil.

A transcript of Shahzad Akbar’s claims on the show, which were a subject of the defamation claim, quotes the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on accountability as saying that Ishaq Dar did not allow the Financial Monitoring Unite to function, adding that he had paralyzed the institution.

Shahzad Akbar also alleged that after Ishaq Dar’s departure, the Unit was brought back to life and that allegedly blocked files of politically-exposed persons were accessed.

These allegations now stand retracted, and the channel has maintained that it accepts Ishaq Dar’s position.

Ishaq Dar claims that he has 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 Shahzad Akbar were aimed at damaging his reputation but God has been very kind to him.

The TV channel has accepted in the UK judicial process that the allegations were fabricated, false and untrue. The TV channel also admitted that Dar was maligned and nothing wrong has been done by him.

Three years of Imran Khan’s rule have gone. During these past three years Imran Khan has repeatedly been chanting the slogan of corruption.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was activated against political opponents, especially leading politicians of PML-N and PPP.

The PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Party President Shehbaz Sharif, Ishaq Dar, Maryam Nawaz, Hamza Shehbaz, Salman Shehbaz, Rana Sanaullah, Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Saad Rafiq and others were held against serious corruption charges but the PTI leadership could not prove allegations against the victims.

On the other hand amongst the PPP leadership former Opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah was thrown behind the bar with the same allegation of corruption. Nothing could be proved against him too. The honorable courts have acquitted these victimized politicians from the allegations.

All of these politicians faced continuous media trials against them. Ishaq Dar was victimized in such a malalafied media campaign.

Resultantly, confident Ishaq Dar decided to file a case of deformation in the United Kingdom against the channel and those behind the allegations.

The honorable court subsequently declared Ishaq Dar innocent in the alleged case against him.

Where does PTI’s slogan of corruption stand now? Eventually, all the corruption based fabricated stories have exposed the ruling party.

At a stage when after three years rule of PTI Imran Khan has been facing his fate of unpopularity this decision of the British court in favor of Ishaq Dar has offered a new boost to PML-N leadership on moral grounds.

On this moral ground the PML-N and the PPP will contest the next parliamentary election while the PTI will be the main loser.

During the recent phase of countrywide agitations of the PDM, the PML-N will definitely get an opportunity to clarify its moral position on acquittal on moral grounds from the honorable court of the United Kingdom.

—The writer, based in Islamabad, is book ambassador, columnist and author of several books.

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