Malik files defamation suit against Jang Group
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court has adjourned till Oct 19 the hearing of a Rs 1 billion defamation suit, filed by Interior Minister Rehman Malik against the MD, Jang Group of Publications, and six other employees, and ordered the issuing of summons to the respondents.
Other respondents include Jang/The News Islamabad Chief Editor, Jang/The News Islamabad Bureau Chief and Jang/The News Islamabad Special Reporter. The interior minister contended that the printing of a ‘false’ news story in Jang and The News on July 6, 2011 about his meeting with Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Zafar Qureshi, heading the investigations into the NICL scam, damaged his character and image. The story said that Rehman Malik offered four options to Zafar Qureshi to disassociate himself from the NICL scam, which he rejected. The minister stated that he was sent back an improper reply when he served legal notice on the Jang Group.
On Monday, the single bench of Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman heard the initial arguments of the counsel for Rehman Malik and adjourned the hearing until October 19. It is worth mentioning here that the Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo motu notice of Rehman Malik giving four options to Zafar Qureshi after the publication of the news story in The News and Jang. The apex court had not only mentioned the said news items in its two very important verdicts but also formed an inquiry commission, led by SC judge Justice Ghulam Rabbani, to probe the content of the story and gather evidence about political interference in the NICL probe. In this way, not only is the SC itself looking into the issue but the inquiry commission, appointed by the apex court, is also probing the matter.
The NICL investigation in charge Zafar Qureshi recently confirmed the said news story while deposing before the Supreme Court that Rehman Malik had not only threatened and tried to coerce him but also offered him four options to abandon the investigation into the mega-corruption case.
Although Rehman Malik referred to the NICL case pending in the SC in his IHC plea, he did not inform the court of the fact that an SC inquiry commission was probing political interference in the case.
It is also worth mentioning here that the SC-appointed commission is also looking into an application, filed by a reporter of The News, that Rehman Malik was harassing him. A legal expert Advocate Ikram Chaudhry said that if any matter is already pending before the SC and a special commission is also probing the matter, it could not be taken up at any other legal forum. However, he declined further comment saying he had not seen the content of the Rehman Malik defamation suit.
Source: The News