Nasir Butt wins £90,000 defamation case against TV channel

Murtaza Ali Shah
Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023

LONDON: One of the leading Pakistani news channels has apologised and given £90000 in damages and almost the same amount in legal costs to PMLN’s senior leader Nasir Butt over defamatory allegations, linking him with the Italian Sicilian Mafia, the western Italian Godfather mafia, Kasur rape scandal, corruption, bribes, blackmailing and threats to the late accountability Judge Arshad Malik in order to help Nawaz Sharif.

While apologising to Nasir Butt and paying him damages and legal costs, the private TV channel has told London High Court in writing that each and every allegation it made against Nasir Butt and Nawaz Sharif in relation to Judge Arshed Malik video scandal was false, defamatory and baseless.

The news channel apologised to Nasir Butt before going to the full trial, after losing a defamation meaning trial few months back where it was determined that Nasir Butt was defamed at the highest level in four shows featuring Ayaz Amir, Shahbaz Gill, Saad Rasool, Habib Akram and Firdous Ashiq Awan.

The channel has told the court, “We accept that Nasir Butt is a man of good character and credibility. The false allegations were made against Nasir Butt because of his role in obtaining a confession from late accountability Judge Arshad Malik that he had been blackmailed to convict Nawaz Sharif, and that he regretted doing this to the innocent Nawaz Sharif.”

The channel has aired an apology on its UK station, apologising to Nasir Butt and clearly stating that defamatory allegations by Ayaz Amir and others should never have been made as there was no truth in these allegations.

The channel told the court and aired the apology which said that on 6 July and 7 July 2019, it broadcast a show Ikhtalafi Note programme in which it was asserted by Firdous Ashiq Awan and Shahbaz Gill that Nasir Mehmood (Butt) is a killer, drug dealer, a fugitive from justice, a multiple murderer and a disreputable character who could have been trying to bribe the judge before making his video.

On 12 July 2019, Ayaz Amir linked Nasir Butt with Italian Sicilian Mafia asserting that Nasir Butt is the sort of disreputable character who would be used by organised crime bosses to carry out their blackmail enterprises, including of judges to help Nawaz Sharif. It was also said by Ayaz Amir that Nasir Butt could easily be imagined doing so, both generally and in the present case.

The channel has now apologised informing the court that, “All these allegations made by the TV channel were false and untrue as Mr Butt is not a murderer or a multiple murderer. Nasir Butt is not a member, leader or key part of a drug-selling network. Nasir Butt did not leave Pakistan in order to avoid prosecution for criminal offences and he is not famous for this. Nasir Butt is not a leader of a criminal gang. Nasir Butt did not engage in bribing Judge Arshad Malik in any way shape or form. Nasir Butt is also not of a disreputable character and he does not engage in blackmailing activities.

“We unconditionally apologise to Nasir Butt for the distress, upset and harassment which these broadcasts have caused him. We have agreed to pay Nasir Butt substantial damages and legal costs.”

The channel has told the court that it will pay Nasir Butt £90000 in damages and an estimated £85000 in legal costs to the law firm. Ayaz Amir had alleged that Nasir Butt was acting on instructions of Nawaz Sharif in mafia style to trap Judge Arshed Malik. The analyst had said, “And how the Sicilian Mafia operates? He had only portrayed a scene, but [in this case] it is a matter of one step further from the mafia. From America’s El Kapoon till date, various tactics have been used to influence the judges. And there are also some Butt Sahibs, some Janjuas there who carry out such tasks. And there’s an El Kapoon sitting behind.

“I wish Nasir Butt would have been with me there. I wish it was him and me there and similar offers would have been made to me as well.” He also accused that Nasir Butt must have blackmailed, threatened and bribed Judge Arshed Malik in the same way Kasur rapists exploited dozens of children by blackmailing them.

Nasir Butt had taken action against the channel stressing in his claim that he was not a multiple murderer, leader of a criminal gang, drug-selling network leader and that he had not left Pakistan in order to avoid prosecution for criminal offences. He further stressed that he was not involved in blackmail, including blackmail of judges involving sexual misconduct.

Nasir Butt had come under attack from Pakistani media and the then government of Imran Khan after he filmed Judge Arshed Malik and passed the film to Maryam Nawaz before leaving for London. The PTI government launched a huge crackdown on Mr Butt after Maryam Nawaz addressed an explosive press conference on 6 July 2019 in Lahore and revealed that the accountability judge had contacted Nasir Butt and told him that he was feeling “guilt” and “having nightmares” after announcing the “unjust” verdict against Nawaz Sharif and then played a video showing Nasir Butt and the judge talking to each other.

Nasir Butt issued defamation proceedings at the UK High Court against several Pakistani TV channels for defaming him. Before settling his case with the TV channel, Nasir Butt has already won two separate cases from other two news channels. His barrister has told the court that he has live cases against two more TV channels at the High Court.

Nasir Butt was represented by Stone White Solicitors and Counsel David Lemer of Doughty Street Chambers.