Imran Khan’s ex wife has received an apology and “substantial” libel damages from Dunya TV after the channel said she had colluded with the Pakistani Prime Minister’s political rivals.
On June 5, 2018, during its On The Front show, a commentator called Sheikh Rasheed alleged that Reham Khan had colluded with her ex-husband’s rivals in the Pakistan Muslim League, and/or that she had accepted a substantial payment from or on behalf of its leader, Shehbaz Sharif, in return for writing her autobiography.
During the broadcast, Khan’s lawyers also said Rasheed had compared her to a prostitute and topless dancer.
Khan was married to the Pakistani leader for around 10 months in 2015. Her book was published shortly before the 2018 general election which saw Imran Khan come to power and was extremely critical of his private life.
However, Dunya TV, an Urdu-language current affairs channel which broadcasts on Sky 765, informed the High Court in London yesterday that it accepted that there was no truth to the allegations.
The public apology to Reham Khan, who is a journalist with British nationality, stated: “My Lord through me the Defendant (Dunya TV) offers its apologies to the Claimant (Reham Khan) for any distress and embarrassment caused by the broadcast. The Defendant accepts that there was and is no truth in the allegations advanced during the broadcast and is happy to set the record straight and apologise to the Claimant.
“The Defendant has agreed to pay the Claimant substantial damages and her legal costs. The Defendant has also given suitable undertakings to the Claimant in respect of the defamatory content.”
Commenting after the settlement, 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 Dunya and several other news channels for business and political gains.
“I have never received any kind of money from Mr Shahbaz 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 at risk and have repercussions for me for all my life.
“I hope that my victory 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 assassination by patriarchal society. I am thankful to Hamlins LLP for ensuring that justice is done.”
Reham Khan’s lawyer, Alex Cochrane of Hamlins LLP, added: “The television programme broadcast by Dunya TV 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 Dunya TV 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”.
Earlier this year the broadcast regulator Ofcom found Dunya TV in breach of its code over the same programme.