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Tuesday June 18, 2024

UK paper prints apology to Shehbaz in print editions across UK

By Murtaza Ali Shah
December 12, 2022
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — Twitter
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — Twitter

LONDON: Britain’s largest circulating Mail on Sunday (MoS) newspaper has published an apology to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in one million print editions as part of the deal to apologise online as well as in print edition after global removal of the false and defamatory article by reporter David Rose.

The printed apology is available at thousands of supermarkets and news agents across the UK as per the agreement that Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) had to first apologise online (on Thursday 8th of December, 2022) and then print the same apology on the following Sunday (December 11, 2022).

The MoS has added in the printed apology that all its journalists observe the Editor’s Code of Practice and the Mail is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). “We aim to correct any errors as promptly as possible.”

The MoS is the largest circulating Sunday paper in the United Kingdom. According to the UK’s Audit Bureau of Circulations, Daily Mail and its Sunday paper Mail on Sunday are the widest circulating online and print papers. The MoS is read every Sunday by an estimated over four million readers through the print edition. The online readership of the Mail is estimated at tens of millions every month globally and around 25 million unique read visitor Mail websites in the UK.

The article by David Rose titled “Did the family of Pakistani politician who has become the poster boy for British overseas aid STEAL funds meant for earthquake victims, asks David Rose” was deleted on Thursday prior to Daily Mail publicly announcing it has apologised and settled the case with Sharif and his son-in-law.

Associated Newspapers had published the false and defamatory article by David Rose on 14 July 2019 after the reporter especially visited Pakistan during the PTI government ahead of the publication. The defamatory article was published on two pages in the middle of a 100 page print edition. The lawyers of Shehbaz Sharif had asked the paper as part of the settlement deal to print the apology at a prominent place and that’s the reason why the MoS has published the apology and retraction of false allegation on page 2 of the print edition. The front page has a full spread on Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle.

The Mail on Sunday’s apology and clarification to PM Shehbaz is a copy of what Daily Mail and Mail Online published online. The Sunday print edition of the apology, published following the global removal of the defamatory and fake article by David Rose, reads: “In an article concerning Mr Shahbaz Sharif entitled ’Did the family of Pakistani politician who has become the poster boy for British overseas aid STEAL funds meant for earthquake victims’ published on 14 July 2019 we reported on an investigation by Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau into Mr Sharif and suggested that the money under investigation included a not insubstantial sum of British public money that had been paid to the Punjab province in DFID grant aid. We accept Mr Sharif has never been accused by the National Accountability Bureau of any wrongdoing in relation to British public money or DFID grant aid. We are pleased to make this clear and apologise to Mr Sharif for this error.”

As part of the agreement, the ANL has removed the defamatory article by David Rose from all websites of Associated Newspapers Limited (Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail publisher). The ANL has apologised to PM Shehbaz and his son-in-law Imran Ali Yousaf in a massive defamation victory at UK High Court on each and every count of corruption. By removing the defamatory article and printing the apology, the Mail owners have accepted that Shehbaz was not involved in stealing money of Department for International Development (DFID) grant for Pakistan; that was not a beneficiary of money laundering of tens of millions of pounds; that he was not involved in embezzlement whilst being the Punjab chief minister or misuse of public office; that he was not involved in receiving corrupt payments in the forms of kickbacks or commission from government run projects. Shehbaz got clean chit from National Crime Agency in September 2021 in a high-profile criminal investigation which was done by the UK sleuths in coordination with the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) of Pakistan, under Shahzad Akbar.