PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court issued notices to respondents from Qaumi Watan Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and asked them to appear in court for a hearing on May 3 in a defamation suit worth Rs1 billion.
The suit was filed by Qaumi Watan Party leader and former provincial minister Bakht Baidar Khan against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan for removing him on corruption charges in 2013. A bench, comprising Justice Irshad Qaiser and Justice Syed Afsar Shah, heard the petition through the QWP leader’s counsel Babar Yousafzai.
The attorney told the court the petitioner was a provincial minister in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government. He added the PTI chief levelled baseless allegations against his client and removed him from the ministry. He said, “There was no reality behind the allegations and [they have] tarnished the image of the petitioner. PTI chief Imran Khan submitted a reply at the trial and admitted all objections that were raised in the defamation suit.”
Qazi Anwar, who represented the PTI supremo, said for the first time in history an applicant had obtained a stay order against proceedings in his own application. He said this matter should be explained. After hearing the arguments, the bench ordered both parties to appear for a hearing on May 3.
The high court had stayed lower court proceedings over the defamation suit worth Rs1 billion filed against Imran.
Bakht Baidar, who served as former minister for industries, commerce and labour, was sacked from the provincial cabinet on November 13, 2013 along with minister for environment Ibrar Hussain Tanoli. The two QWP ministers were removed over charges of corruption. Following the sacking, the party decided to part ways with the PTI-led coalition government in K-P and sit on the opposition benches.
After much ado, QWP rejoined the coalition on October 20, 2015. Two of its lawmakers were inducted in the provincial cabinet, raising its strength to 15.
Bakht Baidar had filed a defamation suit worth Rs1 billion against the PTI chairperson for ousting him from the K-P government over charges of corruption.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2016.
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