UK Court Forces ARY To Apologise To Pakistani Citizen It Declared An Indian Agent
ARY News in the United Kingdom has apologized to a Pakistani Sindhi educationist Dr Syed Alam Shah for calling him an Indian agent. Dr Shah was part of a protest against former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar’s on his visit to London in November 2018 to raise funds for the water dam construction.
According to details, ARY News (known as New Vision Television) apologized to Alam Shah and accepted that false allegation broadcast by NVTV caused serious harm to the reputation of Dr Syed Alam Shah and he had suffered severe distress and embarrassment. ARY News operates in the United Kingdom under the name New Vision Television (NVTV). The company was opened after ARY was shut down in the UK four years ago after losing defamation case to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
In November 2018, NVTV had broadcast a programme from ARY News by reporter Farid Qureshi in which the reporter had alleged that Dr Syed Alam Shah was an Indian citizen, protesting against Saqib Nisar’s visit outside the hotel and that he had also attended an earlier protest, masquerading as a Baloch nationalist during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UK. Reporter Farid Qureshi said the protestors, who were Pakistanis, took part in protest on Indian government’s directions.
The protest outside Nawaab Restaurant London was organized by a group of Pakistani human rights activists mostly from Sindh. They had raised slogans against Saqib Nisar and the construction of the dams without taking Sindhis into confidence.
Dr Syed Alam Shah is a citizen of Pakistan, originally from Karachi. He was a professor of philosophy at Karachi University before he moved to England with his wife and family in 2013, and has been a resident there ever since. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the UK in April 2018.
The demonstrations concerned the building of dams by Pakistan in the Sindh region. Dr Syed Alam Shah attended both demonstrations; one held outside Parliament House and the other outside a restaurant in London.
One of the demonstrators identified in those reports was Dr Syed Alam Shah. He has been active in Karachi’s student politics and was a PPP worker.
The ARY reports alleged that Dr Syed Alam Shah had taken part in the demonstrations under the false pretence of being a concerned Pakistani citizen from the Sindh region, whilst actually being a citizen of India, and that he was taking part in a dirty campaign by India against Pakistan.
Dr Syed Shah Alam filed a defamation case soon after the allegations were broadcast, contending that the allegations were untrue. He told the court that he is a citizen of Pakistan and was demonstrating in good faith about issues in his home country that deeply affected him.
His lawyers told the court that the false allegation broadcast by NVTV/ARY caused serious harm to the reputation of Dr Syed Alam Shah and he had suffered severe distress and embarrassment.
- NVTV (ARY), Mr Afzal, Mr Alam and Mr Farid Qureshi have now accepted that the allegations made against Dr Syed Alam Shah in the programme were untrue. NVTV/ARY has now also aired an apology in the UK.