ISLAMABAD, Apr 5 (APP): Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar has won a defamation case filed against a private TV channel with a court in the United Kingdom over false allegations of “money-laundering, criminal activities, opening fake accounts and running away in Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s plane.”
The channel from its UK station had aired these allegations leveled by former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Minister Farrukh Habib when Ishaq Dar was about to return to Pakistan to take over the Finance Ministry in September 2022.
In a settlement reached with Ishaq Dar after he initiated defamation proceedings under UK laws, the channel (92 News) issued an apology to Ishaq Dar on its UK channel categorically stating that the allegations of criminal activities made on the channel by PTI leader Farrukh Habib were “completely false, baseless and untrue.”
The channel apologised to Ishaq Dar stating that it “deeply” regretted airing false allegations by Farrukh Habib, saying “ Mr Ishaq Dar is a man of great credibility and honesty who has never been involved in corruption and has always worked diligently for the betterment of Pakistan.”
Ishaq Dar adopted legal course after the aired allegations on September 25 & 26, 2022 during the programme “Night Edition with Shazia Zeeshan” on 92 News UK Channel and 92 News HD UK channel on YouTube.
During the show, it was asserted by PTI leader Farrukh Habib that Ishaq Dar was “returning to Pakistan to collect the proceeds of criminal activities derived from Pakistan Muslim League-N’s time in government; and that in collusion with the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan to embezzle and launder proceeds derived from illicit activities back to the UK”.
Farrukh Habib further asserted that Ishaq Dar was an “expert at opening fake accounts”, that he had “fronted a deception in the Hudabiyya Paper Mills case by using his family names” and that “Mr Ishaq Dar had run away from Pakistan using the then Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s plane”.
After Ishaq Dar started defamation case through his UK lawyers, the channel has now apologized to him on all counts, categorically stating that Farrukh Habib lied about Ishaq Dar and that the channel would never repeat these allegations.
The channel aired the following full apology on its UK channel: “92 News categorically confirms that each of the above allegations was completely false, baseless and untrue and 92 News deeply regrets airing of the above content.
Furthermore, 92 News accepts and confirms that Mr Ishaq Dar is a law-abiding citizen of good character and credibility who has always worked diligently for the betterment of Pakistan. 92 News hereby unconditionally apologises to Mr Ishaq Dar for the significant distress and upset which this broadcast has caused him.”
In a statement, Ishaq Dar said he accepted the categorical apology from 92 News. The Finance Minister said: “Once again I have been vindicated and justice has prevailed. I have never been involved in corruption or any unlawful activity and this is the second time that a TV channel in the UK has apologized to me.
“These allegations were false and baseless and obviously the channel had no evidence to prove any of these. I am glad that in the UK the TV channel has not only completely apologised and distanced itself from the defamatory allegations of criminal activities but also confirmed these allegations by the PTI leader were a pack of lies and that these allegations should never have been made.”
In October 2021, Ishaq Dar won a defamation case against ARY’s UK TV called New Vision Television (NVTV) at the London High Court over allegations of corruption, money laundering and misuse of authority. ARY’s UK channel has paid nearly £100,000 to Ishaq Dar in damages including an apology for airing allegations by the then Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar and the Reporters’ Programme by Chaudhary Ghulam Husain and Sabir Shakir.
Both programmes had alleged that Ishaq Dar was involved in money laundering and corruption and had looted billions of rupees belonging to Pakistan, had foreign accounts containing billions of rupees, used undue influence over the Financial Monitoring Unit and was involved in issuing death threats to a government official.
In an apology to Ishaq Dar at the London High Court, NVTV accepted that its allegations against Dar were false, fabricated and baseless. The TV channel also agreed and paid damages and legal costs to Ishaq Dar for the hurt, embarrassment and defamation.
NVTV had said it accepted that Ishaq Dar has “not stolen any money from the Pakistani Government, secondly, that his no bank account was traced, and consequently, the question of any stolen money does not arise, thirdly, the claim that he was willing to pay any such money in order to return to Pakistan was also false and fabricated, and fourthly that Ishaq Dar never made life threats to anyone.
NVTV said: “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.”