Character assassination?: Baidar to produce Twitter officials in court over defamation

Published: January 25, 2015
Baider to present Twitter officials in court. PHOTO: FILE

Baider to present Twitter officials in court. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: The legal team of former provincial minister Bakht Baidar Khan, who was earlier removed from the cabinet on corruption charges, is going to produce a representative of Twitter in court for the verification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s Twitter account.

The Peshawar High Court earlier restrained a district and sessions judge from passing a final order in the
Rs1 billion defamation suit filed by Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) leader Baidar against Imran Khan after the latter reportedly accused Baidar of corruption while serving as the minister for labour and manpower. Proceedings of the case are still ongoing and Baidar is set to produce witnesses to prove the allegations of defamation leveled by him against Khan.

As summons have not been issued for officials of Twitter, there was no development on Saturday and the district court adjourned the hearing till February 11.

“We are going to produce private witnesses to confirm that my client was removed from the post [by Imran Khan]. These will include any official of Twitter who can verify the account used by Imran for this purpose (sacking Baidar) is his official one,” Baidar’s counsel Babar Khan Yousafzai told The Express Tribune.

He added they also have media clippings regarding the ouster of his client, adding these will be produced in court as evidence of Baidar’s unfair removal from the provincial cabinet.

When asked why the case had been dragging on for so many months, Yousafzai maintained that under the law of the court the case has to be decided within 90 days, but the defamation suit has been pending since end of 2013.

Last year, the legal team of Bakht Baidar sent a letter to the headquarters of Twitter in San Francisco to nominate a representative who could verify the account used by Imran Khan to announce Baidar’s ouster.

On April 1, 2014, the court of district and sessions judge rejected the application of Imran Khan seeking the dismissal of the Rs1 billion defamation suit.

Bakht Baidar was sacked along with his fellow party member Ibrar Hussain Tanoli, who was serving as the minister for forest, on November 13, 2013 on corruption charges. Later, Baidar sent a legal notice to Imran Khan to tender an apology, but got no response from the PTI chief. The QWP leader then filed the Rs1 billion defamation suit.

“The plaintiff, in violation of the law, directed the appointments of 110 teaching/non-teaching staff (male) and 85 teaching/non-teaching staff (female) at the Working Folks Grammar School, Dir. These unauthorized and illegal appointments unnecessarily burdened the Workers Welfare Board and thereby, the public exchequer,” said the PTI chief’s statement submitted in court to justify Baidar’s ouster.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2015.

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