Reham Khan apologized to PTI leader Zulfi Bukhari on Friday after the latter’s defamation action against her in the United Kingdom was dismissed.

In 2019, Reham Khan raised multiple accusations of corruption and nepotism against Bukhari, in a YouTube broadcast from the United Kingdom on December 6, alleging that he was complicit with Prime Minister Imran Khan in a “corrupt plot” to sell Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Roosevelt Hotel in New York and then acquire it at a discount. Bukhari had taken issue with these claims and filed her with a libel suit demanding a retraction, damages, and the expense of legal costs.

According to court documents seen by journalist, Reham Khan agreed to pay £50,000 (Rs11.6 million) towards Zulfi Bukhari’s costs and damages, agreed to withdraw all allegations, and apologized for broadcasting a defamatory video on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as for retweeting three Tweets containing defamatory allegations of corruption, nepotism, and embezzlement.

Khan’s remarks constituted a Chase Level 1 imputation, the court determined during a preliminary hearing in London earlier this year. As the judge decided, this meant that the defamatory statements would be interpreted as genuine wrongdoing on the part of Bukhari by an “ordinary reasonable reader.”

Khan issued an apology on Twitter today for a series of accusations she made about the PTI leader. She stated on social media sites in December 2019 that she filed allegations about the PTI leader being reportedly involved in a “corrupt plot” with Prime Minister Imran Khan to sell and purchase the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.

“On December 7, 2019, I reposted a tweet and video by Syed Tauqeer Bukhari alleging that Zulfi Bukhari committed fraud and nepotism by attempting to sell a priceless public asset, the Roosevelt Hotel, for a pittance of money,” she claimed. Reham Khan described these claims as “false and inaccurate,” saying that Bukhari was not involved in any corrupt scheme, fraud, nepotism, or effort to sell the hotel.

On March 15, 2020, she stated that she published a tweet and a video alleging that Bukhari lied on television, including by showing people forged papers. “It was also alleged that Zulfi Bukhari obtained money via unlawful and fraudulent methods and laundered it through criminal means,” she added. Apologizing for this conduct, Reham stated that the PTI leader had never presented forged documents and had never utilized unlawful or fraudulent methods to accumulate or launder his money. “Zulfi Bukhari gained his fortune, such as it is, by hard labor and not through any criminal activity,” Reham wrote.

She also acknowledged posting tweets on March 17 and March 20 last year alleging that the PTI leader had acted against journalists, criticizing his handling of the Covid-19 epidemic and saying that Bukhari had endangered people’s lives via his “incompetent control” of the disease’s development. Reham emphasized that these claims were likewise “false and incorrect,” as Bukhari had no role in regulating Pakistan’s coronavirus outbreak. “I wholeheartedly apologize to Zulfi Bukhari for the enormous grief, upset, and humiliation that these publications have caused him,” she stated in her statement. “I have agreed to pay Zulfi Bukhari substantial damages for libel and to cover his legal fees.”

Bukhari expressed delight at the development, declaring that “truth always wins!” “Reham Khan officially apologizes and pays damages for her falsehoods, as ordered by the court,” he tweeted. The PTI leader expressed optimism that one day “we will have the same law and justice, so that those propagating falsehoods and fake news may be brought to court.”

On 30 June 2021, Bukhari won the first round of the defamation case against Reham at the Royal Court of Justice, following the trial of a preliminary issue in which Justice Karen Steyn determined the meaning of the eight publications at issue and accepted submissions from Zulfi’s lawyer, Barrister Claire Overman, that her client had been widely defamed.

Following the trial, both Zulfi and Reham engaged in settlement discussions on the conditions suggested by Zulfi’s lawyers.

By Sawera Amjad

Author is a Lahore College for Women University graduate. She writes with zeal and believes that there is nothing greater than words to express herself.

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