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Saturday May 18, 2024

Defamation case: YouTuber Adil Raja suffers major legal setback in UK court

UK High Court rules Raja's statements were seriously defamatory of Brigadier (retd) Rashid Naseer

By Web Desk
April 14, 2024
Major (retd) Adil Farooq Raja speaking in his vlog in this undated image. — Social Media
Major (retd) Adil Farooq Raja speaking in his vlog in this undated image. — Social Media

Controversial YouTuber Major (retd) Adil Raja has suffered a major legal setback in a defamation case registered against him by Brigadier (retd) Rashid Naseer as the English court judge rejected all his applications including his plea to stay a defamation trial progressing against him.

The court has ruled that Adil Raja had published statements which were seriously defamatory of Rashid Naseer in nine publications on social media sites YouTube, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter).

Deputy High Court Judge Richard Spearman KC ruled that Adil Farooq Raja should pay £5,000 to the now retired Brigadier for the rejected application to stay the defamation trial and the judge also ordered the YouTuber to pay a further interim payment on account of costs in the sum of £5,000 for the failed security for costs application.

Adil Raja, the defendant, has until April 17, 2024 to pay this money.

With help from his lawyer and PTI UK leader Mahtab Anwar Aziz who also represents PTI activist Shayan Ali, Raja appeared before the court remotely by video link and argued that the case of Brig (retd) Naseer should be stayed on a number of grounds but the court rejected all his arguments which included allegations that Pakistan was an authoritarian state in which the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) controlled the judiciary and the government and allegations of election rigging in Pakistan.

In the case on meaning, the High Court judge ruled that 9 out of the 10 publications published by Raja were defamatory of Brig (retd) Naseer at common law and were matters of fact, rather than expressions of opinion.

Brig (retd) Naseer’s name had surfaced when former prime minister Imran Khan named him as "Mr X" in making wild and baseless allegations – the allegations Khan and his party stepped back from and failed to prove at any forum.

In deciding the meaning of the publications, Deputy High Court Judge Mr Richard Spearman KC ruled that Brig (R) Rashid Naseer was defamed at UK common law when Adil Farooq Raja made the following allegations, without any evidence, in the publications in June 2022: (1) Rashid Naseer had taken complete control of the Lahore High Court; (2) Rashid Naseer had allegedly had several meetings with Asif Ali Zardari to discuss election manipulation; (3) Rashid Naseer will be eliminated at the right time by soldiers working covertly leaking information about the actions and movements of such people; (4) Brigadier Rashid Naseer was working against PTI candidates; (5) Rashid Naseer is part of a meticulously contrived process set up by military and intelligence officers to rig elections; (6) Rashid Naseer has been abusing his position, using huge unaccounted funds to ensure the victory of PDM; (7) Rashid Naseer will be abusing his position to harass PTI supporters during the PTI election; (8) Rashid Naseer has sinned and destroyed his chances of the promised life in the hereafter; (9) Rashid Naseer had caused the police to do his bidding by making a baseless allegation of bribery; (10) Rashid Naseer is directly involved in political interference; (11) Brigadier Rashid Naseer registered a complaint against Adil Raja in order to defame him; (12) Rashid Naseer got Adil Raja’s brother in law arrested; and (13) he played a prominent role in regime change.

The retired Brigadier denied all these allegations.

Raja had asked the court to make Brig (retd) Rashid Naseer pay a sum of £250,000 as security for his costs because he is based in Pakistan and suing in the UK but the judge rejected this and agreed with the lawyers for Brig (retd) Naseer that he will give an undertaking that his solicitors will hold only £4,000 as security.

In his application, Raja had also sought anonymity for his witnesses to trial but the court agreed with the position that Brig (retd) Naseer’s lawyers adopted and allowed Raja’s application to anonymise his witnesses but only up until the witness statements are exchanged.

The controversial YouTuber initiated his campaign against the officer on June 14, 2022, through tweets and videos on YouTube and Facebook. The court documents reveal that the retired brigadier filed his case through his UK lawyers on August 11, 2022.

Raja has been living in the UK since April 2022. Brig (retd) Naseer was represented by Counsel David Lemer of Doughty Street Chambers and Ushrat Sultana and Sadia Qureshi of Stone White Solicitors. Major (retd) Raja was represented by Mahtab Anwar Aziz of Central Chambers Law Solicitors.