PM’s assistant serves Rs1 bn notice on channel for propaganda
ISLAMABAD: Capt Shujaat Azeem, special assistant to the prime minister on aviation, has served a defamation notice on ARY News channel President Salman Iqbal and host of programme ‘Khara Such’ Mubasher Lucman for airing series of orchestrated programmes based on malice and bare faced lies.
In his notice dated February 25, 2015, served through renowned lawyer Babar Sattar, under Section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002, Azeem has asked ARY channel and Lucman to withdraw the defamatory statements publicly and issue a public, unqualified apology within 14 days or face court action for both to pay damages of Rs500 million each. In detailed answers to all baseless allegations raised in the programmes.
Capt Azeem refuted all the baseless allegations levelled against him. In programmes broadcast on February 5 and 20, it was wrongly alleged that Capt Azeem had sold PIA’s functional aircraft to a company of his daughter. Had Lucman bothered to check, he would have found that his only daughter is a 16 years old school going child. Further, it’s a matter of record that PIA has not sold any airplanes and Azeem has no legal authority to dispose off planes, since PIA is run by a full time Chairman and a board.
In a programme, Lucman made yet another spurious and outrageous claim that Capt Azeem was amongst three to four persons who might have given information regarding the movements of Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon, which lead to his assassination.
In a deliberate effort to defame Capt Azeem, Lucman had insinuated in his programme that Capt Azeem had willed an accident to happen and was therefore disappointed that the Prime Minister of Pakistan had escaped an accident while landing at Islamabad airport on December 8, 2014.
Replying to another charge that Capt Azeem was expelled from the PAF, the notice said that charges were related to indiscipline and being late on duty. He was never charged with any crime, felony or lapse in moral character during his service to the Air Force.
Capt Azeem has been in service of Pakistan since his appointment as special assistant to the PM on an honorary basis and has worked with integrity and diligence to reform the aviation sector, his own company (RAS) was set up 10 years ago when PM Nawaz Sharif was in forced exile. He had resigned his position as CEO of RAS on Feb 8, 2013, long before May 11 general elections. In fact, his company had informed PIA that, following his appointment, they would no longer engage in any business with PIA.
This was acknowledged by PIA wide their letter dated 13 June, 2013. Thus Capt Azeem ensured that there was no conflict of interest whatsoever.
The allegations in the programmes hosted by Lucman were nothing but malicious rumours levelled with the sole objective of exposing Capt Azeem to hatred, contempt and ridicule, impeach his professional conduct, credibility and integrity, and blemish his image in and outside the country.