Tuesday April 23, 2024

Ishaq Dar donates defamation victory money to charity

Ishaq Dar’s lawyers have received in their bank account UK pounds 85,000 (equivalent to Rs21 million) from ARY’s UK broadcaster called NVTV

By Murtaza Ali Shah
April 28, 2022
Ishaq Dar. Photo: Twitter
Ishaq Dar. Photo: Twitter

LONDON: Pakistan’s former Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has donated the proceeds of his UK High Court defamation case victory against ARY’s UK broadcaster NVTV to a charitable trust for the welfare of poor people.

Ishaq Dar’s lawyers have received in their bank account UK pounds 85,000 (equivalent to Rs21 million) from ARY’s UK broadcaster called NVTV. Ishaq Dar’s lawyers confirmed that Ishaq Dar has donated the damages recovery to Sharif Trust, after paying the legal fees to his legal team who represented him in the defamation case.

Ishaq Dar said: “I have donated to the Sharif Trust the damages that I received from ARY’s New Vision TV Limited (NVTV) in respect to my claim for defamation. I have made this donation for financing the treatment of poor people who wish to avail medical facilities from the Sharif Medical City Hospital, Lahore. My staff will liaise with the Sharif Trust staff to ensure that the said donation is utilised through the Sharif Medical City Hospital only for the treatment of the deserving poor people.

“I had stressed at the time of starting the defamation case that I was not interested in making money out of a legal suit against a TV channel but the goal was to win an apology in UK High Court and to get the record set straight that the allegations of money-laundering, corruption and misuse of public office were defamatory, false, baseless and big lies. Alhamdullilah, ARY’s NVTV apologised to me publicly in the UK, withdrew all allegations unconditionally and gave an undertaking to the High Court that it will not repeat any of these allegations.”

Ishaq Dar won his defamation case in October last year after initiating his case at the UK High Court. ARY’s broadcaster in UK, NVTV had broadcast allegations made by the then Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar and the Reporters’ programme presented by Chaudhry Ghulam Husain and Sabir Shakir, alleging that Ishaq Dar was involved in money-laundering, corruption, had looted billions of rupees belonging to Pakistan, had foreign accounts containing billions of rupees, used undue influence over Financial Monitoring Unit and was involved in issuing death threats to an official.

In an apology to Ishaq Dar at the London High Court, NVTV had accepted that the said allegations against Dar were false, fabricated and baseless. The TV channel had agreed to pay damages and legal costs to Ishaq Dar for the hurt, embarrassment and defamation; the payment has been made this week as the final financial settlement between Ishaq Dar and ARY’s broadcaster.

It was also asserted by the “Reporters” anchors in which it was asserted that Ishaq Dar was willing to pay back the “stolen money” if he was allowed to return to Pakistan. It was also claimed that Ishaq Dar’s bank accounts had been traced and that they contained large sums of stolen money in the region of one billion dollars.

Shehzad Akbar had also made allegations against Dar on 8 August 2019 during another ARY News programme, Powerplay, alleging that Ishaq Dar was responsible for the Financial Monitoring Unit in Pakistan which actively and improperly impeded its work, by preventing the key institutions accessing systems that would assist it in its functions. It was further asserted that Ishaq Dar had taken those actions to protect individuals who had been involved in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills money laundering case.

The ARY’s NVTV apology concluded: “We unconditionally apologise to Mr Ishaq Dar for the significant distress, upset and embarrassment which these broadcasts have caused him. We have agreed to pay Mr Ishaq Dar substantial damages for libel and to pay his legal costs.”

It is worth mentioning that ARY News and ARY’s UK broadcaster NVTV have apologised to several people in the UK after making false and defamatory allegations against them in different current affairs programmes.

The channel has recently lost defamation cases and was ordered to pay a substantial fine and apologise to Jang and Geo’s Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman won his complaint against the channel several times at Ofcom (UK's communications regulator).

Prominent Pakistani industrialist Mian Mansha won libel case against the channel in 2018. JS Group Founder Jahangir Siddiqui and JS Bank won complaint in 2015 at the Ofcom. A former advisor to prime minister Shujaat Azim has also won an apology from ARY News a few years back in a defamation suit. PMLN’s Nasir Butt won defamation case a few months ago and Malala Yousufzai’s father won Ofcom complaint in 2016 at the Ofcom.