Anchorperson Reham Khan on Friday apologised to former aide of prime minister on overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari for levelling ‘baseless’ accusations against the latter after losing a defamation case in a London court.
In a video posted on her Twitter handle and YouTube, Reham said she apologised to the former aide of PM for causing “distress” and “embarrassment”. She said she also agreed to pay “substantial damages for libel and to pay his legal costs”.
In her statement, Reham listed accusations she had made against Bukhari and termed them false.
On 6 and 7 of December 2019, the anchorperson had published a video on her YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter account in which she alleged that Bukhari was involved in a corrupt plan with the Prime Minister [Imran Khan] to sell or acquire the Roosevelt Hotel in New York at an undervalue for his benefit.
Such allegations were false and untrue, Reham said.
Bukhari had objected to such allegations and served a libel case against her, seeking a retraction, damages and cost of legal fees.
During a preliminary hearing in London earlier this year, the judge had found that Reham’s words had amounted to a Chase Level 1 imputation. As determined by the judge, this had meant that the defamatory words would be understood by an “ordinary reasonable reader” as actual guilt on the part of Bukhari.
According to Reham’s note on social media, on December 7 2019, she had retweeted a tweet and video by Syed Tauqeer Bukhari in which it was alleged that Bukhari was involved in fraud and nepotism by trying to sell a precious asset of the state of Pakistan for a meagre amount of money.
“These allegations are baseless,” she added.
Then on March 15, 2020, the anchorperson had again retweeted a tweet and video by Syed Tauqeer Bukhari in which it was claimed that Bukhari had told lies on television, including show fake documents to people. It was alleged that Bukhari had made money by illegal and fraudulent means and used illegal means to launder it.
According to Reham, such allegations are also untrue.
Later on March 17 2020, she had retweeted a tweet by Inamullah Khattak. The tweet accused Bukhari of serving official notices of complaint against journalists who criticised his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and that amounted to a state attack on the freedom of the press.
On March 23, 2020, the anchorperson had retweeted a tweet by Syed Tauqeer. The tweet also accused the former aide of PM of putting millions of Pakistanis’ lives at risk because of the incompetent management of the Covid-19 in Pakistan.
Reham said: “I unconditionally apologise to Zulfi for the significant distress, upset, and embarrassment which these publications have caused him. I have agreed to pay substantial damages for libel and to pay his legal costs.”
Bukhari welcomes apology
Reacting to the development, Zulfi termed his win against Reham a result when the rule of law is supreme. In a tweet, the ex-PM’s aide said: “One day Pakistan will have similar laws to take certain media persons spreading lies and fake news to the task.
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