Ansar serves notice on Sharmila to apologies or face suit
ISLAMABAD: Senior journalist and Editor Investigations of The News, Ansar Abbasi, has served a legal notice for defamation on Special Assistant to Chief Minister Sindh and PPP leader Sharmila Farooqui for her unfounded, false, provocative, instigating and highly slanderous allegations against the reputed journalist in a July 17, 2012 TV talk show.
Barrister Ehtesham Amir-ud-din, Advocate High Court, served the notice, which sought from the PPP leader an unequivocal apology from the senior journalist for her remarks, both in letter and spirit in the same manner as she advanced them within next one week. Failing which civil and criminal proceedings would be initiated against Sharmila Farooqui.
The legal notice also demands damages caused to the senior journalist which according to Barrister Ehtesham cannot be measured in monetary terms however tentatively the same are fixed at Rs150 million.
The legal notice says that leveling of unfounded and defamatory allegations on television amounts to an act of defamation as defined under Section 3 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002 (“Ordinance”), which is punishable and actionable as libel under the Ordinance.
“Should you (Ms Farooqui) choose to ignore this notice and act in terms hereof, I have instructions from my client to commence both civil and criminal proceedings against you,” Barrister Ehtesham noted in the notice.
It is important to mention here that Sharmila Farooqui, her father Usman Farooqi and mother Anisa Farooqui were accused by NAB of committing mega corruption through a 2000 reference and later in 2001 in less than a year, all the three accused had brokered a plea bargain deal with NAB authorities and returned the looted money. In April 2001, under this plea bargain deal, approved by NAB court, Sharmila, her father and mother stood disqualified to hold any public office for the next 21 years.
However, the NAB law was amended later and this period was reduced to ten years. Sharmila was appointed as adviser to CM Sindh in 2008 despite her disqualification to hold any public office starting from 2001. Ansar Abbasi had filed a story on “illegal” appointment of Sharmila Farooqui as Sindh cabinet member on May 12, 2010.
It is quite interesting that after the lapse of over two years of the publication of this news story, which also contained Ms Farooqi’s version, Sharmila in a TV talk show came up with slanderous allegations against the senior journalist.
It is also pertinent to mention here that the matter relating to the “illegal” appointment of Sharmila Farooqui despite her disqualification is also pending with the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The legal notice served to Sharmila by Barrister Ehtesham says: “That My client enjoys utmost respect in society as a professional journalist owing to his honesty and integrity.
He has played a remarkable role in the field of journalism and has worked all his life for freedom of speech, expression, right to know and development of journalism in Pakistan, however your defamatory remarks and the false allegation of demanding Rs10 crore from you as bribery, have not just damaged his reputation and credibility but have also insulted his noble efforts for the development of independent journalism in Pakistan.”