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Daily Mail delayed apology to Shehbaz Sharif on PTI govt’s reassurances: source



  • Daily Mail admitted that it has no evidence against Shahbaz.
  • PTI filed cases in NAB, FIA to help Daily Mail, source says.
  • UK paper published apology to Shahbaz Sharif last week.

LONDON: Daily Mail’s council advised against fighting the case further after Shahbaz Sharif won the meaning hearing trial in February 2021, however, the paper kept delaying the apology on the PTI government’s assurances to help the paper firm up its case, sources said.

Credible sources told Geo News that Shahzad Akbar did everything in his power to push cases in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Shahbaz Sharif to help Daily Mail’s case. However, Justice Nicklin sensed what was going on and ruled in February 2021 that the outcome of cases against Shahbaz Sharif in Pakistan – including a NAB court conviction – will have no bearing on the UK trial.

Last week, the Daily Mail published an apology to Shahbaz Sharif and deleted the defamatory article after agreeing with Sharif’s lawyers to end the case.

It is pertinent to mention that Daily Mail, when publishing the article on 14 July 2019, had claimed that it was publishing the article based on solid evidence in its possession but later on the paper struggled to find any credible evidence in support of its allegations which have been now withdrawn and the defamatory article deleted.

February 2021 hearing 

In the Feb 2021 hearing, the Daily Mail had contested that the words complained of by Shahbaz Sharif were not defamatory, but the judge ruled that the level of defamation to Shahbaz Sharif was Chase level 1–the highest form of defamation in English law.

Justice Matthew Nicklin said the article published by Daily Mail effectively declared Sharif guilty in the following words: “Mr Sharif was party to and the principal beneficiary of the money laundering of tens of millions of Pounds which represented the proceeds of his embezzlement whilst he was the chief minister of the Province of Punjab, of substantial sums of British public money that had been paid to the province in Department for International Development (DFID) grant aid and other corrupt payments received in the form of kickbacks or commission from government-run projects.”

Lawyer convinced Daily Mail to Back off

There were sufficient reasons why Daily Mail’s lawyer became convinced that their client cannot prove a case of corruption against Shahbaz Sharif and was likely to lose. 

The lawyer informed the judge about Sharif’s money-laundering cases and proceedings in Pakistan, to suggest that Sharif may be convicted in Pakistan but Justice Nicklin made it clear that he had read the case bundle of both sides and was aware that there were proceedings in Pakistan involving Shahbaz Sharif but he had “deliberately read nothing about proceedings in Pakistan because that’s not for me to read or know. I would rather not know what’s happening in Pakistan”.

This meant the judge told Daily Mail’s lawyer that regardless of what happens in Pakistan, the paper has to prove its case in the UK as per the UK defamation laws.

Daily Mail’s lawyer told the judge about a statement by Shahzad Akbar, PM Imran Khan’s advisor, stating the money-laundering investigation has started in Pakistan.

Adrienne Page QC, appearing for Shahbaz Sharif, had told the judge that the Daily Mail article implicated the former chief minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif as being involved in the suspected theft of UK taxpayers’ money. The QC said: “That was hugely damaging and shamed Mr Sharif in the eyes of the British readers and to readers in Pakistan, a country which benefits hugely from the UK’s aid to its country. The suggestion that his administration was involved in stealing the UK’s money was a grave allegation.”

Adrienne Page QC told the court that the Daily Mail article declared that Shahbaz Sharif was “guilty of corruption” and “beneficiary of the laundered money from Britain. 

She asked: “Whose money has been stolen? Money laundering is criminal misconduct but who was victimized and where is the proof? Where is the stolen money? Where is the evidence? Where’s the evidence of kickbacks and misappropriation?”

Barrister Victoria Simon-Shore had appeared for Shahbaz Sharif’s son-in-law Imran Ali Yousaf. She told the court that her client rejected all allegations of corruption, misuse of funds and money laundering. The lawyer had rejected allegations by Daily Mail that Ikram Naveed was the frontman of Imran Yousaf. She said the allegation in the article that Imran Ali Yousaf “mysteriously accumulated” money because his in-laws were in power was far from the truth.

Justice Nicklin held that a connection with UK aid was emphasised throughout the article in all aspects and it would be very difficult for the reader to conclude how much UK money was embezzled.

The Daily Mail article criticised the Department for International Development’s (DFID) praise for Shahbaz Sharif and then made the most damning allegation in categorical terms. 

David Rose wrote in the defamatory article: “All the time that DFID was heaping him and his government with praise and taxpayers’ cash, Shahbaz and his family were embezzling tens of millions of pounds of public money and laundering it in Britain.”

It’s this part of the article that formed the core of Justice Nicklin’s ruling that now the paper must show – nothing else, no hearsay, no allegations, no assumptions – but concrete and undeniable proofs that Shahbaz Sharif and family had embezzled “tens of millions of pounds of public money and laundering it in Britain”.

The judge had said that the paper published Shahbaz’s son Suleman Sharif’s denial in a vague way which wouldn’t convince a reader that the Sharif family spokesman effectively rejected allegations of corruption, money laundering and kickbacks.

Justice Matthew Nicklin had ruled that the entire article meant that Shahbaz Sharif was guilty of very specific crimes of money laundering, corruption, commission, and kickbacks.

David Rose’s VIP protocol under PTI govt

Before the article was published, on Shehzad Akbar’s orders, David Rose was provided with the VIP government protocol in Pakistan. 

The FIA and NAB – under instructions of Shahzad Akbar who ran the Assets Recovery Unit and was all-powerful – facilitated Rose by giving him access to papers, files, and under-custody persons who made statements to the reporter to suit the narrative of corruption and money-laundering in the article.

Mail’s lawyers admitted thrice in the Feb 2021 trial that they didn’t have “actual” and “substantial” evidence of money laundering by Shahbaz Sharif and Ali Imran Yousaf.

Immediately after Nicklin’s ruling, Shahbaz Sharif’s lawyer at Carter-Ruck issued a short statement saying:  “Mr Sharif said this is the first step towards clearing my name from the Mail on Sunday’s false allegations which should never have been published.”


Sindh schools winter vacations from Dec 22




KARACHI: The Sindh government on Thursday announced the winter vacation schedule for public and private educational institutions across the province.

According to a notification issued by the Sindh School, Education, and Literacy Department, the educational institutions in the province will observe winter vacation from December 22 to 31.

“In pursuance of decisions taken in the steering committee meeting, all public and private educational institutions under the administrative control of School Education and Literacy Department Government of Sindh shall remain closed w.e.f 22-12,023 to 31-12,023 for Winter Vacation.”

Sindh schools winter vacations from Dec 22

After the winter break, the educational institutions will reopen on Friday (January 1, 2024).  

Meanwhile, the new academic year in the public and private schools across Sindh will commence on April 15, 2024, and August 1, 2024, in the colleges.

The matriculation and intermediate exams will be started from the last week of May 2024, while the results will be announced on July 31 and the second week of August, respectively.

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COAS Gen Asim Munir meets Kuwaiti crown prince




  • PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar to meet Kuwaiti crown prince today. 
  • Both army chief and PM are in Kuwait on official visit. 
  • PM Office says multiple MoUs expected to be signed during visit. 

Army chief General Asim Munir on Tuesday met Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as part of his official visit to the gulf country, reported Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

The meeting was also attended by Caretaker Law Minister Ahmed Irfan Aslam, Pakistan Ambassador to Kuwait Malik Mohammad Farooq and other members of the delegation.

Meanwhile, PM Kakar has also arrived in Kuwait City after concluding the UAE visit and is expected to meet the crown prince today, the PM Office said on Wednesday.

The premier will also meet his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Ahmed Al-Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

The PM office said that a number of memorandum of understanding (MoUs) will be signed for mutual cooperation in various sectors including manpower, information technology, minerals and mining, food security, energy and defence.

In UAE, Pakistan signed several MoUs worth multi-billion dollars in a range of areas on Monday to boost economic and strategic cooperation between the two countries, PM Kakar said.

The prime minister said with the signing of the MoUs, the bilateral economic and strategic relations had entered into a new era of bilateral cooperation.

Congratulating the people of Pakistan and the UAE, he said the foundation of friendship with Pakistan which was laid by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in the 1970s, had been taken forward by his son Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to a new era.

PM Kakar expressed the hope that the MoUs that were signed by the two countries would turn into tangible projects very soon.

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Haj 2024: Pakistanis to get ‘free SIMs with internet’




Caretaker Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Aneeq Ahmed said Tuesday that the government would provide free-of-cost mobile SIMs with roaming internet packages to Pakistanis performing Haj in 2024.

In conversation with a private news channel, the caretaker minister said abayas would also be given to female pilgrims, having a Pakistani flag on the backside, and 13kg suitcases would be given to all.

The minister called the reduction of around Rs100,000 in the Haj cost a “historic step” taken by the caretaker government, noting that a further Rs50,000 would be slashed and the amount would be refunded to the people in their accounts.

He said a new mobile application has been designed to assist pilgrims, which will provide navigation support and enable constant communication between pilgrims and relevant officials.

Initially available in English and Urdu, the application will later incorporate various regional languages, he said, adding, that the app would also provide digital training programmes to every pilgrim.

The minister also disclosed a project that Haj ministry, with the collaboration of the education ministry, has planned to convert city mosques into schools to enroll out-of-school children where the mosques’ imams would play a leading role.

The minister said that mosques will play their role as community centers in every city areas, adding that imams will resolve community issues as well after offering prayers.

He said that haj ministry is taking all four provinces on board and enhancing the connectivity of mosques.

While describing another project, the minister said that his ministry with the collaboration of the health ministry has another project in the works, in which medical clinics will also be part of mosques.

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