Oct 15, 2021: Anchorperson Reham Khan on Friday apologized to PTI leader Zulfi Bukhari after losing a defamation suit against him in the UK.
In 2019, Khan had leveled several allegations of corruption and nepotism against Bukhari, claiming that he had joined hands with Prime Minister Imran Khan to sell the Roosevelt Hotel owned by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in New York and said he was involved in a “corrupt scheme” to buy it later at a lower market price.
Bukhari had objected to the allegations and filed a corruption case against him, demanding a return, damages and legal fees.
During a preliminary hearing in London earlier this year, the judge found that Khan’s words were tantamount to a Chase Level 1 critique. As the judge ruled, this meant that insulting words would be considered the real crime by the “common sense reader” Bukhari. In a statement posted on Twitter, Khan apologized for several claims made against the PTI leader.
She said she had claimed on social media platforms in December 2019 that the PTI leader was allegedly involved with Prime Minister Imran Khan in a “corrupt scheme” to sell and acquire the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
On December 7, 2019, I retweeted a tweet and video of Syed Tauqeer Bukhari stating that Zulfi Bukhari was involved in fraud and nepotism by trying to sell the Roosevelt Hotel, a valuable asset of the state of Pakistan, she said. Khan said the allegations were “false and untrue”, adding that Bukhari was not involved in any corrupt scheme, fraud, nepotism or attempt to sell a hotel.
On March 15, 2020, she said she had shared a tweet and a video stating that Bukhari had lied on television, including showing people fake documents. At the time she said that Zulfi Bukhari made money illegally and fraudulently and used it illegally.
Apologizing for the action, Khan said the PTI leader never showed any fake documents, did not use illegal or fraudulent means to create or launder his wealth. Zulfi Bukhari has made his fortune as such through hard work and not through any illegal means Reham wrote.
She also addressed sharing tweets on March 17 and March 20 last year that asserted the PTI leader had acted against journalists, criticising his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and claiming that Bukhari had jeopardised the lives of people due to his “incompetent management” of the disease’s spread.
“I unconditionally apologise to Zulfi Bukhari for the significant distress, upset and embarrassment which these publications have caused him.
“I have agreed to pay Zulfi Bukhari substantial damages for libel and to pay his legal costs,” Khan explained in her statement.
Bukhari welcomed the development, saying that “truth always wins!”
Reacting to the development, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said attempts to bring a legal system similar to the one that had ordered Khan to pay damages and apologise to Bukhari in Pakistan were instead met with resistance by “media owners in the name of freedom of expression”.
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