Tuesday May 30, 2023

Serving army officer sues YouTuber in UK for defamation

A senior Pakistan military officer has sued a UK-based YouTuber and retired army officer for defamation and damages at the London High Court

January 04, 2023
Serving army officer sues YouTuber in UK for defamation

LONDON: A senior Pakistan military officer has sued a UK-based YouTuber and retired army officer for defamation and damages at the London High Court for running a defamatory campaign against him on YouTube and Twitter, making allegations of election rigging against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), doing horse-trading for Gen (retd) Bajwa, and holding secret meetings with Asif Ali Zardari to manipulate the Punjab by-elections.

According to the evidence seen by The News and Geo, the military officer, currently serving in Punjab, filed an unprecedented defamation action against Maj (retd) Adil Farooq Raja over nearly a dozen YouTube Vlogs and Twitter publications “carrying false and ludicrous allegations.”

According to court papers, Maj (retd) Adil Raja started his campaign against the senior serving military officer on June 14, 2022, when he alleged in a tweet that the latter “has taken complete occupation of the Lahore High Court” to rig the upcoming elections.

On June 19, 2022, Adil Raja alleged that “the officer had several meetings with Asif Ali Zardari during the latter’s stay at Lahore. Subject: Elections Manipulation,” and he went on to post a link to his YouTube video making further allegations.

Court papers show that the serving officer filed a case at the court through his UK lawyers on August 11, 2022, after the retired major made several accusations against the senior military officer in tweets and videos that became viral, gaining thousands of retweets, likes and views in the tens of thousands.

The defendant, Adil Raja, confirmed to The News and Geo: “The serving officer has brought a defamation case against me.”

Lawyers have told the UK High Court that Adil Raja “conducted a determined and prolific social media campaign against the claimant, publishing many tweets and videos, many of which are seriously defamatory of the claimant, and all of which, because of their content, tone, and frequency, have caused him serious harm.”

In a Vlog, Adil Raja accused the serving military officer of manipulating and using corrupt means to ensure the PMLN and PDM’s victory in Punjab and Pakistan. He also accused the officer of meeting Zardari to ensure a maximum number of seats in Punjab, so that Bilawal Bhutto could be helped.

In further tweets, Adil Raja accused the military officer of being involved in politics and doing “horse-trading” for Gen Bajwa, registering fake cases against him in Punjab and being an agent of the regime change plan.

In his defamation claim, the senior military officer has denied every allegation against him as false and told the court that he had suffered serious harm to his reputation and was likely to suffer further serious harm in the future. The claimant has challenged every broadcast by Adil Raja, based on undisclosed sources and “silent soldiers,” while informing the court that the information published was fake and baseless and that there was no justification to publish such news that had no basis in truth or facts.

Adil Raja, whose full name is Adil Farooq Raja, came to London in April last year following reports that he had gone missing from Islamabad. He left Pakistan after developing differences with his former organisation, and since then he has done several controversial broadcasts, making allegations about a “regime change” conspiracy and naming several serving military officers.

Adil Raja told this reporter that his tweets and Vlogs were based on information “provided by highly-placed sources within the Pakistani establishment.”

He said it was regrettable that the claimant had filed a case “against his fellow officer and countryman on foreign land.”

Adil Raja also claimed that his broadcasts were made in the “public interest” and that he had kept in mind the journalistic code of conduct.

Dawn Solicitors represent the senior serving military officer from Slough, Berkshire, and solicitor Mahtab Anwar Aziz represents Adil Raja — the same lawyer who had announced in November last year that Scotland Yard would arrest PMLN leaders Nawaz Sharif and Nasir Butt for plotting to assassinate Imran Khan and Arshad Sharif. But the London police have said it had not initiated an investigation based on the complaints filed by Mahtab Aziz and his client Syed Tasnim Haider.