Jang Group asks Imran Khan to prove his allegations

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: The Independent Media Corporation, Independent Newspapers Corporation and News Publications through their counsel Khalid Jawed Khan advocate served legal notice on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for leveling false, defamatory and misleading allegations against the media group and its owner Mir Shakil ur Rehman.

Following is the text of the legal notice.

This Legal Notice is being addressed to you on instructions from and on behalf of our Clients jointly and severally namely (1) Independent Media Corporation (Pvt.) Limited (2) Independent Newspapers Corporation (Pvt.) Limited (3) News Publications (Pvt.) Limited and Mr. Mir Shakil ur Rehman.

1. That together our clients represent the largest Media House of the country which commands great respect, credibility, recognition and largest viewership in Pakistan as well amongst Pakistanis living abroad. Our clients have an established legacy and unimpeachable credentials in the field of print and electronic media dating back to the independence movement for Pakistan. They have a long standing and hard earned reputation for being independent, non partisan, objective and impartial source of information, education and entertainment for millions of people in Pakistan and across the globe. Because of their acclaimed reputation and acknowledged stature, our clients are not only recognized as fore runner and pioneer in the media industry but also recipient of several awards. Mr Mir Shakil ur Rehman, who is a highly respected and renowned media personality, has also held the post of the President of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors and the President of All Pakistan Newspapers Society for several years. He is also the founder Chairman of the Pakistan Broadcasters Association. In July 2005, he was also named by the leading American magazine Business Week, as one of the twenty five stars of Asia.

2. That on account of the invaluable services rendered by our clients in the field of journalism and their large scale philanthropic work that serves the cause of humanity; they enjoy unblemished reputation and respect and are held in high esteem across the society and more particularly amongst the general public, fellow media houses, journalists and among corporate entities of significance within Pakistan and abroad. You may also recall that along with our clients, you had also been an active participant in social welfare activities in past. The most relevant case is your association with MKRF for large scale welfare measures. It may also be added that because of his international social and corporate stature and services to the media, Mr. Mir Shakil ur Rehman has a large number of large business associates, friends, colleagues and well-wishers abroad especially in the UK, Canada, USA, UAE and several other counties.

3. That from the beginning our clients have made extraordinary efforts to maintain impartiality, transparency and objectivity in discharge of their professional work. While according prime importance to the glory of Islam, the security and defence of Pakistan and public order, our clients have through print and electronic media, always maintained neutrality in reporting about political matters, political parties and political leadership in the country.

4. That our clients appreciate, recognize and acknowledge that as a citizen as well as a national figure you have the right to make comments and raise questions, queries and concerns about national affairs. Our clients have regularly and fairly reported about your activities, statements and events in which you had participated just as it has been done in respect of other national personalities or matters of general public importance.

5. That it is regretfully noted that in recent past you have regularly made and repeated statements and assertions of facts about our clients jointly and/or severally, which are not only completely false and misleading but are highly defamatory, disparaging and damaging and include words like ‘blackmailer’ and ‘Firoan’ which cannot be part of public discourse and discussion in any civilized society. Your attention is particularly invited to your assertions on different occasions from 2nd May 2014 to 17th June 2014 and subsequently. Some of these include your press conference that was held on 2nd May 2014 at Islamabad. You again repeated these defamatory and false assertions on 4 May 2014 on a private TV Channel Program. On 5 May 2014 you again repeated your false and frivolous allegations on two TV Channels. We are enclosing transcripts of specific statements (Annex A) made on electronic media as well as clippings from newspapers made by you about our clients which are not only false but highly defamatory and damaging. A summary which is only illustrative and not exhaustive of the false assertions of facts and allegations made by you through statements on electronic and print media as well as in public meetings on different occasions is produced hereunder:

a. Our Clients have manipulated the election results through media framing.

The crux of your statements is that our Clients have been partial and inclined towards your rival political party by way of broadcasting a victory speech of their leader to influence election results whereas electoral process had been completed 5 to six hours before the time of speech (11:23 PM on 11th May 2012).

b. You have falsely blamed that our Clients were corruptly allowed to acquire the broadcast rights for the cricket series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

c. You have asserted that our Clients are being funded by foreign country to follow their narrative. You have attempted to create doubts about patriotism and loyalty of our Client towards his county.

d. You have leveled extremely serious allegations against our Client that our

Client has nexus with Indian and US Governments to foster war on western borders and promote agenda and purposes of these foreign countries.

e. You have labeled and called our Client as blackmailer and Firoun and made false accusation that he had been trying to intimidate you.

These are some of the illustrations of the false and malicious allegations made by you and are by no means exhaustive.

6. That it is evident that you have launched a malicious personal campaign against our clients and made wild and preposterous allegations ranging from accusation of rigging the election results of 2013 general elections to securing award of televising cricket rights contract in a corrupt manner as a reward for rigging election results of 2013 and being secretly funded by foreign agencies to vilification for launching peace campaign named amn ki asha. These and other false and wild allegations are completely baseless and mischievous and are vehemently denied.

7. That besides being false, damaging and defamatory, some of your statements, expressions and representations made and presented in the electronic and print media and other fora including press conferences and public rallies including the public rally at Islamabad on May 11th 2014, are such that these amount to direct provocation and incitement to the members of the public particularly your political supporters and workers to act against our clients which seriously endanger life, property and business of our clients and those associated and affiliated with them.

8. That sincere efforts were made on behalf of our clients to convey to you their deepest anxiety caused by the barrage of false and malicious campaign launched by you against them for no rhyme or reason. In this context several Email messages were sent to PTI top leadership on behalf of our clients jointly or severally wherein they had volunteered themselves for an unbiased inquiry for the purposes of investigating the accusations made by you against them through a committee consisting of neutral and impartial and respectable citizens. Our clients also volunteered to face questions by such committee and explain their position if so required. It was also stated that in case the proposed committee is able to dig out anything blameworthy or culpable, then your party will have one hour of prime time on their TV channel to share any such adverse findings with the viewers. However, your party did not take this offer. Instead of taking this unusual offer of self-accountability by our clients, you continued with your vicious campaign against them. It is established that your defamatory campaign is deliberate and devoid of any element of good faith and has malicious motives.

9. That as a result of your representations, statements and expressions on electronic and print media and other fora and the resultant impressions, innuendoes and insinuations that have followed, grave defamation of our clients has been committed by you before an audience of millions of viewers and readers both in Pakistan and abroad. The allegations are completely false and unfounded and evidently motivated. Your expressions have personal and ulterior motives and objectives, have malice in its construct and portray your biased bent of mind towards our clients. It has caused serious damage to reputation and social stature and businesses of our clients besides causing severe mental distress, pain and agony. Consequently, your actions have incurred you liability for aggravated defamation that is actionable under civil as well as criminal law.

10. Considering the seriousness and the damage that your expressions, statements and representations have caused and will continue to cause to the good name and businesses of our clients, we are under instructions to signify their intent to initiate an action against you for damages in Court of law unless you tender apology and pay damages.

You are hereby urged to tender an unconditional apology to our clients jointly and severally and withdraw all the allegations made by you and publish and circulate the said apology with equal prominence and pay a sum of Rupees Five Hundred Million by way of damages. Failing this we have definite instructions to initiate appropriate proceedings against you.

The News