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July 22, 2019

Shahbaz set for defamation action against Mail publishers


July 22, 2019

LONDON: Shahbaz Sharif, president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), is set to initiate legal action against Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), publishers of The Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail and Mail Online.

The DMGT was formerly known as Associated Newspapers. Sources have told The News that Shahbaz Sharif’s representatives have met three different defamation law specialist firms in the course of one week. A source familiar with the legal effort has told that a law firm will be finalised to file case against the media group for publishing a story by journalist David Rose in which allegations of corruption linked with the UK aid were made.

When contacted, a member of the legal team confirmed holding several meetings. “We have received positive feedback from all three firms. Media law experts have expressed their eagerness to act on Shahbaz Sharif’s behalf. We will be finalising the lawyer by Monday and within this week, our formal law action will follow. We are determined to establish that the allegations made were politically motivated, nefarious in purpose and baseless.”

The source said that lawyers have told Sharif’s representatives that he has a strong case against the paper because allegations have been made which lack any substance. “The fact that the British government’s Department for International Development (DFID) declared the news as false and stressed that its aid money was not misused is a big testimony in favour of Shahbaz Sharif. The rebuttal of the story by DFID established how false and ill-intentioned the story was,” said the source.

Soon after the story was published and caused a stir in Pakistan, Shahbaz Sharif had announced: “Have decided to file law suit against Daily Mail. The fabricated and misleading story was published at the behest of [Pakistan Prime Minister] Imran Khan and Shahzad Akbar. We will also initiate legal proceedings against them. Imran Khan has yet to respond to three such cases I filed against him for defamation.”

In a report last weekend, the Mail on Sunday said that the UK’s Department for International Development (DIFD) had given Sharif and his government taxpayers’ money and that he and his family were embezzling tens of millions of pounds of public money and laundering it to Britain.

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