A legal team — on behalf of the chief of the banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), Hafiz Saeed — on Friday sent a Rs100 million defamation notice to Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for his remarks at the Asia Society forum in New York earlier this week.
Asif, who told the forum that Pakistan was not to blame for militant outfits in the country, had said: “Don’t blame us for the Haqqanis [the Haqqani Network] and don’t blame us for the Hafiz Saeeds [referring to the head of banned Jamaatud Dawa]. These people were your darlings just 20 to 30 years back. They were being dined and wined in the White House and now you say ‘go to hell Pakistanis because you are nurturing these people’.”
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The notice, served by Advocate AK Dogar under Section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance of 2002, claims that Saeed is “respected as a deeply religious and devout Muslim”.
“I will be failing in my duty as a lawyer if I do not remind you of the Fundamental Right enshrined in Article 14 that [the] dignity of man is guaranteed by our Constitution,” it continues.
The notice accuses Asif of “an absolute lie and falsehood that Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is one of those persons who had been the darlings of Americans and had been dining and wining in the White House.”
“I have been advised by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed to tell you that he has never been near the White House, not to speak of wined and dined. It is shocking to know that the foreign minister of my country is accusing Hafiz Muhammad Saeed of taking wine. This is abusive language and can never be used about my client. He is [a] patriotic Islam loving Muslim following the dictates of [the] Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). This is a defamatory statement punishable under Section 500 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to five years imprisonment and with [a] fine.”
Dogar provides the definition of defamation as under Section 499 of the PPC: “Whoever by words either spoken or intended to be read makes any imputation concerning any person so as to harm his reputation is said to defame that person.”
“The imputation of wining is a false statement which has injured the reputation of my client and lowered him in the estimation of others. This is slander and actionable libel. I am constrained to issue this 14 days’ notice under Section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002 of the intention of my client to bring an action against you specifying the defamatory matter complained of.”