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Sunday October 24, 2021

Zulfi Bukhari wins defamation case, Rs11.6m from Reham Khan

October 15, 2021
Zulfi Bukhari wins defamation case, Rs11.6m from Reham Khan

LONDON: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s former Special Assistant Zulfi Bukhari has won his defamation case against Reham Khan, a broadcaster and former wife of PM Imran Khan, at the London High Court.

According to court papers seen by this correspondent, Reham Khan has agreed to pay the sum of £50,000 (Rs11.6 million) as contribution towards Zulfi Bukhari’s costs and damages, agreed to withdraw all allegations and apologised for broadcasting a defamatory video on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and apologised for re-tweeting three Tweets carrying defamatory allegations of corruption, nepotism and embezzlement.

A Tomlin Order sealed by the High Court of Justice in London shows that Reham Khan agreed to apologise and pay damages ahead of a full defamation trial in the case, following a determination at the same court in June this year when a judge found that the words uttered by Reham Khan against Syed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari, known commonly as Zulfi Bukhari, were chase level-1 defamation, the highest form of defamation which could be proven through facts only.

According to court papers, Zulfi Bukhari sued the former wife of the Pakistan's prime minister at the London High Court after London-based Reham published a video on her YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter on December 6 and 7, 2019, including tweets and retweets in which she asserted that Zulfi Bukhari was involved in a corrupt plan with the Prime Minister of Pakistan to sell or acquire the Roosevelt Hotel in New York at an undervalue for his benefit.

Conceding to her wrong judgment, Reham in a statement attached to the order has said, "These allegations were false and untrue. Zulfi Bukhari, as I now understand, was not involved in any corrupt plan with the Prime Minister of Pakistan to sell or acquire the Roosevelt. On 7 December 2019 and later on on 15 March 2020 I had retweeted tweets and videos by Syed Tauqeer Bukhari asserting that Zulfi Bukhari was involved in fraud and nepotism by trying to sell a precious asset of the state of Pakistan, the Roosevelt Hotel, for a meager amount of money. It was also asserted that that Bukhari had told lies on television, including showing fake documents and had made money by illegal and fraudulent means and used illegal means to launder it. "These allegations were false and untrue. Zulfi Bukhari, as I now understand, was not been involved in fraud or nepotism nor was he trying to sell the Roosevelt for a meager amount of money. His money has not been made by illegal or fraudulent means nor has he used illegal means to launder it. Zulfi Bukhari has built his wealth; such as it is, through hard work and not through any form of illegal conduct."

She added: "On 17 March 2020 I retweeted a tweet by Inamullah Khattak and later on 23 March 2020 retweeted a tweet by Syed Tauqeer Bukhari asserting that Zulfi Bukhari had served official notices of complaint on journalists who criticised his handling of the coronavirus pandemic which amounted to a state attack on the freedom of the press for which he is responsible. Besides he had put millions of Pakistanis’ lives at risk because of his incompetent management of the spread of the coronavirus in Pakistan.

"These allegations were false and untrue, as Zulfi Bukhari had no role in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. I unconditionally apologise to Zulfi Bukhari for the significant distress, upset and embarrassment which these publications have caused him. I have agreed to pay Zulfi Bukhari substantial damages for libel and to pay his legal costs.”

In the settlement agreed between the two parties, Reham Khan agreed that she will tweet the apology and clarification in both English and Urdu and pin it to her twitter account for at least three consecutive days besides issuing the same apology on her Youtube channel and Facebook page.

On 30 June 2021, Zulfi Bukhari had won the first round in the defamation case against Reham Khan at the Royal Court of Justice at a trial of preliminary issues where Mrs Justice Karen Steyn had accepted submissions from Zulfi’s lawyer Barrister Claire Overman that her client had been defamed widely. After the meaning trial, both Zulfi and Reham entered into negotiations to settle the case on the terms proposed by Zulfi’s lawyers.