ISLAMABAD: The Daily Mail, a British news publication, will be paying millions of rupees to Wajed Iqbal, a British-born Pakistani who was falsely accused of being involved in a child sex ring in the United Kingdom by the tabloid.
Iqbal, who works as a taxi licensing officer in the UK, was accused of being a “fixer,” or a liaison, for pedophile taxi drivers in an article written by Daily Mail reporter David Rose in May 2017.
Iqbal was seeking damages for the false accusation and the attack on his character, taking Associated Newspaper Limited (ANL), the umbrella company for publications such as Mail Online, Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail, to court.
Iqbal has been awarded 1.2 million British pounds, the equivalent of Rs244 million, in an out-of-court settlement. The trial was set to be started in April this year.
Iqbal’s lawyers have stated that the issue of race cannot be ignored in this case and that they believe The Daily Mail has repeatedly targeted people of Pakistani and Muslim descent.
Mark Lewis of Patron Law represented Iqbal and told local Pakistan news network: “I cannot avoid reaching the conclusion that the Mail on Sunday chose to defame Wajed Iqbal because he is a Muslim. They believed their own article, they chose to defend saying it was true.”
Another Pakistani who plans to take the ANL to task is former Chief Minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif who announced earlier this week that he is suing the Mail on Sunday and the very same reporter David Rose for defamation after an article published last year.
In July 2019 Rose alleged in an article published by the Mail on Sunday that Sharif had siphoned off money from UK’s Department of International Development (DFID) fund for the victims of 2005 earthquake.
Sharif alleged in his multiple takes on the article and in his recent press conference that the write-up was prepared and published on the behest Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Given the legal procedures involved in such cases, the trial may begin anytime within this year.