Reham Khan wins defamation case, pay-out, apology

LONDON: Reham Khan, the broadcaster and ex-wife of the Prime Minster of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has received substantial libel damages and a public apology from a private Pakistani television channel in connection with a television programme that was broadcast in the UK on June 5, 2018, in which the Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed accused her of getting money from the PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif.

Justice Nicklin at the London High Court, in Royal Courts of Justice, was informed by Hamlins LLP’s Alex Cochrane that the broadcast had made a number of very serious allegations about Reham Khan, including, quite wrongly, that she had colluded with her ex-husband’s political rivals in the Pakistan Muslim League and that she had accepted a substantial payment from or on behalf of its leader, Shehbaz Sharif, the former Chief Minister of Punjab and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s younger brother, in return for writing her autobiography titled “Reham Khan”.

He told the court: Sheikh Rasheed called my client a woman of worst morals than a prostitute. An allegation that caused distress to my client and her family and damaged her reputation considerably.

The private channel informed the Court that it accepted that there is no truth to this allegation, or to any of the other allegations that she complained of.

Reham Khan was accused of taking money from opponents of PTI after she wrote her memoirs related to her one-year-long marriage to the Imran Khan. Sheikh Rasheed, Hamza Abbasi, Fawad Chaudhry, Fayyaz Hassan Chohan, Salman Ahmed and several anchors made allegations on TV in June 2018.

Reham Khan’s lawyer, Alex Cochrane of Hamlins LLP, said: “The television programme made very serious allegations about our client that are entirely false. Reham Khan had no alternative other than to take legal action to vindicate her reputation, and I am happy to say that the channel has now given Reham Khan a full and unequivocal apology in the High Court in London. They have also paid her substantial libel damages and all her legal costs. Reham is obviously very pleased with the apology and the successful outcome to this matter”.

Reham Khan said: I am glad that justice has finally prevailed. It took me a long legal battle to prove my innocence and the fact that I was victimised and defamed by this and several other news channels for business and political gains.

I have never received any kind of money from Mr Shehbaz Sharif for writing my book. It’s hurtful that sections of Pakistani media and politicians linked with PTI made false allegations knowing well that these allegations lacked any truth. These allegations have put my life in danger and have consequences for me for all my life. I hope that my win and vindication serves as a catalyst for ethical journalism and honest politics in Pakistan. I see this as a win for all women in Pakistan who suffer character slaughter by patriarchal society. I am thankful to Hamlins LLP for ensuring that justice is done.”

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