Daily Mail UK did not deploy delay tactics in the defamation lawsuit filed by Shehbaz Sharif
Information Minister Maryum Aurangzeb gives misleading statements to media
Claim: According to Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, the Daily Mail UK has not been able to prove the allegations its journalist David Rose leveled against Shehbaz Sharif and his son-in-law. She also stated that the Sharif’s have “already won the case on the stage of presentation”, and the British publication deliberately delayed the defamation case.
Fact: The Daily Mail UK submitted a detailed response to Shehbaz Sharif’s allegations of defamation. The court also demanded that Sharif and his son-in-law Imran Ali Yousaf bear the Daily Mail UK’s legal expenses after a stay application filed by the duo was rejected. The court rejected arguments initially presented by Sharif and Yousaf and ordered them to submit amended replies by 13 December 2022’ otherwise, the defamation case would be struck out.
In 2019, the Daily Mail UK published an article titled “Did the family of Pakistani politician who has become the poster boy for British overseas aid STEAL funds meant for earthquake victims, asks DAVID ROSE”. This article was challenged in a defamation lawsuit by Shehbaz Sharif and Imran Ali Yousaf in the UK within two weeks of it being published in July 2019.
In March 2022, Associated Newspapers Limited — the publisher who publishes the Daily Mail, Mail Online and Mail on Sunday — submitted a 50-page defence to the allegations of defamation to the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division.
On 11 November 2022, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb spoke to the media, claiming that “we have already won our case on the stage of presentation” She said the Daily Mail had deliberately delayed the case while Sharif and Yousaf had already submitted their replies to the court, and the next hearing for the case is set for 13 December 2022. She claimed that Shehbaz Sharif had already sent a summarized version of his response to the court, and the court has mandated the detailed response be shared at a later date. “Daily Mail has so far not been able to prove their allegations in court and, in case of failure, they will have to face the court of law,” said Marriyum Aurangzeb.
Fact or Fiction?
On 7 October 2022, Sharif and Yousaf filed a stay application. A stay application refers to the court’s statutory power to stay (‘cease’), by order, any proceedings before the court. A court order released on 9 November 2022 by Justice Nicklin, tweeted by investigative journalist David Rose clearly states that the UK court rejected this stay application. The court then demanded that the prime minister and his son-in-law present a detailed response by 13 December 2022. The court also imposed a penalty on the duo to cover the legal costs incurred by the Daily Mail UK for the stay application, and those incurred since Sharif’s initial reply, which the court rejected as insufficient on 9 November 2022. This amount comes up to £57,055.
This clearly proves that Sharif and Yousaf attempted to delay the court case by filing a stay application, not the Daily Mail.
The court order also states that if the claimants fail to provide a sufficient response on 13 December 2022, the case will be dismissed, and Sharif and Yousaf will have to cover all legal costs incurred by the publisher from when Sharif filed the suit in July 2019. The facts of the case do not align with Marriyum Aurangzeb’s claim that Sharif and his son-in-law have won “at the stage of presentation”.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb is a prominent PML-N MNA, and her false statement about this case were published by major news organisations, including, but not limited to ARY, GEO, The Nation, Tribune, Dunya News, Dawn and others. However, her statement is false.
Conclusion: The Daily Mail UK did not deliberately delay the defamation case filed by Shehbaz Sharif and his son-in-law. Marriyum Aurangzeb’s claim that they are close to winning the case is also false.