PESHAWAR: A local court on Monday directed Prime Minister Imran Khan to ensure written reply on the next hearing in a defamation suit filed by former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) woman legislator against him.
Fauzia Bibi, the former Member Provincial Assembly, who was elected on the reserved seats for women on PTI’s ticket, filed the defamation suit for recovery of damages to the tune of Rs5 billion for defaming her through leveling “baseless” allegations against her by Prime Minister Imran Khan at a press conference accusing her of selling her vote in the Senate elections.
The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Abdul Majeed, directed Habibullah Qureshi, counsel for PM Imran Khan, to ensure submission of reply on April 6, the next hearing into the case.
It was the third directions of the court to the prime minister through the counsel to submit a written reply to the defamation suit.
Earlier, the court had dismissed an application under Order 7 Rule 10 of Code of Civil Procedure, filed by Babar Awan, claiming that this court had no jurisdiction to hear the case here as the press conference in question addressed by his client was held in Islamabad and not in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Syed Ghufranullah Shah is representing the former woman lawmaker in the suit. She had filed the suit in June 2018 under the Defamation Ordinance 2002. The only defendant in the suit is PTI chief Imran Khan, who subsequently became the prime minister.
The former lawmaker sought an order of the court against the PTI chairman to decree Rs5 billion as damages for defaming her.
It was submitted that the plaintiff was a law-abiding citizen and belonged to a respectable family.
Fauzia Bibi claimed that she had an excellent reputation in the political and social circles. She reminded that she was made parliamentary secretary for tourism and allied services by the previous PTI government in KP.
The plaintiff claimed that in the Senate elections she followed the party policy and cast her vote for the PTI candidates nominated for general and reserved seats.
She alleged that the defendant Imran Khan started uttering, spreading and resorting to the publication, communication and circulation of “maliciously false, baseless and oral” statements against the plaintiff.
Fauzia Bibi recalled that Imran Khan used the electronic, print and social media to accuse her of horse-trading by way of selling her vote for money.
The plaintiff said she clarified her position by taking oath on the Holy Quran to deny the allegations. She said her lawsuit was also supported by an affidavit on oath. She stated that she replied on April 28 to a show-cause notice issued by the party leadership. She claimed that an inquiry committee was formed under PTI leader Naeemul Haq, but he failed to call its meeting.
The plaintiff maintained that a second committee headed by Asad Qaiser, the then Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker, also never held its meeting.
Fauzia Bibi said after waiting for a long period she sent a legal notice to the PTI chairman through her lawyer on May 22, asking him to tender an apology or pay damages for defaming her.