PTI chief Imran Khan appears in court to extend pre-arrest bail, in Islamabad, Pakistan September 1, 2022. — Reuters

PTI chief Imran Khan appears in court to extend pre-arrest bail, in Islamabad, Pakistan September 1, 2022. — Reuters

DUBAI: The authorities in Dubai have refused to entertain an attempt to lodge a case of criminal defamation suit on behalf of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan by his lawyer.

The former prime minister — whose government was ousted after a vote of no confidence last April, announced in December last year about instructing a lawyer in Dubai to file a defamation suit and criminal proceedings in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against Geo News, its anchor Shahzeb Khanzada and Dubai-based businessman Umer Farooq Zahoor.

The sources within the Dubai authorities have confirmed that Khan’s lawyer Hassan Aslam Shad had, earlier this year, contacted Al Barsha Police Station to register the case as announced by the PTI chief, but the Dubai police refused to entertain his request due to lack of evidence.

It was nearly three months ago on December 17 last year when the former premier said in a tweet: “My UAE lawyers led by Hassan Shad have now filed criminal defamation (libel and slander) proceedings under the UAE law against Geo TV, Shahzeb Khanzada and fraudster Umer Farooq Zahoor.”

“Alhumdulillah. It is a great honor & privilege for me to fight for my leader & the last hope for millions of Pakistanis. This is a huge responsibility on my shoulders. May Allah Almighty enable us to expose all hypocrites and show their true face to the world,” Khan’s lawyer tweeted, responding to the PTI chairman’s tweet.

Three months later, the cricketer-turned-politician’s lawyer failed to initiate “criminal defamation (libel and slander) proceedings under the UAE laws” against Zahoor, Geo television and Geo News anchor Khanzada.

The sources in the authorities in Dubai said that the application has not been entertained, as it didn’t have any relevance in the local laws and with local matters, and the lawyer, too, was unable to convince the police on the merits of the case as he had desired.

The News and Geo sent several requests to Khan’s lawyer seeking an update and his version for this story, but he didn’t respond to the questions on WhatsApp, leaving the messages on read.

The development came after Zahoor claimed in Khanzada’s show Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath that the PTI chairman’s people sold an expensive wristwatch in 2019 — gifted to former premier by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman — for $2 million, which were locally worth around Rs280 million at the time of the sale.

The businessman also claimed some PTI members wanted to sell the watch for $4 million to $5 million, but after negotiations, he purchased it for $2 million. He said the payments were made in cash on Farah Khan’s insistence — who is a friend of Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi.

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