A London court judge, Justice Sir Matthew Nicklin, has ruled that the words used in an article of Daily Mail for Shehbaz Sharif and his son-in-law Imran Ali Yousaf are “slanderous, and constitute the highest level of defamation under United Kingdom (UK) law”.

The judge declared that the article against Sharif and Yousaf, written by David Rose, constitutes Chase Level 1 defamation, which is considered the highest form of defamation law in the UK.

On July 14, 2019, David Rose alleged that Shehbaz and his son-in-law were involved in money-laundering and embezzlement of British money meant for Pakistani citizens.


Justice Nicklin remarked at the hearing that he analysed the material put before him by Daily Mail and Shehbaz Sharif’s lawyers. He was also aware of the proceeding happening in Pakistan, as per the judge. He said that “it is not for me to know. I would rather not know what is happening in Pakistan.”

The publication’s lawyer quoted Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan advisor Shahzad Akbar’s statement that the money-laundering investigation started in Pakistan and it has led to multiple cases of corruption.

In response, Shehbaz’s lawyer said that “the state has just proceeded with the investigation and now they are trying to tap the sources of these funds. It means that the investigation is far from complete, and Daily Mail had limited information at the time of the publication of the article”.

The lawyer took the court through the entire article and said that the article is defamatory from the start till the end. It is also lacking evidence and making baseless allegations of fraud and money-laundering.

Barrister Victoria Simon-Shore appeared for Shehbaz 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.

She said, “The allegations in the article that Mr Yousaf mysteriously accumulated money because his in-laws were in power was far from the truth. The presumption of innocent till proven guilty applies.”

After the recent developments, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) demanded the release of Shehbaz Sharif. Marriyum Aurangzeb said, “The decision of the London court is a testimony of the innocence of Shehbaz Sharif and PM Imran Khan being a proven liar.”

She demanded an apology from PM Imran and his spokesperson because the president of the PML-N has been severely defamed, under British Law.

“Those who have no self-respect, their only job is to malign the honourable people,” she added.

In response, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar claimed that the PML-N is declaring a premature victory by giving the perception that Shehbaz Sharif has won the case.

He further said, “It was just a meaning hearing, which means it was held to decide the meaning of the words complained of in the claim brought by Shehbaz.”

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Akbar accused Marriyum Aurangzeb of spreading misinformation. He challenged Shehbaz to file a defamation suit against him in London and he will present all the evidence.

Akbar said that “misreporting was done by PML-N and some sections of the media to give the perception that Shehbaz had won something.”

He also referred to David Rose’s tweets in which the journalist said that the hearing was “not a victory for anyone and was strictly preliminary.”