Islamabad November 16, 2014: Former President Asif Ali Zardari today served legal notice on Sadruddin Hashwani Chairman Hashoo Group author of “The Truth Always Prevails” as well as the publishers for filing a criminal suit against them for willfully publishing a “false, derogatory and vexatious publication full of blatant lies” to damage his reputation.
Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said in a statement today that the legal notice was drafted by Senator Farooq H Naek senior advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan on behalf of the former President and served not only upon the the author but also the publishers namely the Penguin Books in Haryana India and Liberty Books in Karachi.
The cumulative direct effect of the distortions in the book is to tarnish the reputation of Mr. Asif Ali Zardari and negate all his contributions to the state and society of Pakistan. The book is a brain-wave of an irresponsible person full of malice aimed at not only tarnishing the image of Mr. Zardari but also of the PPP and its workers, says the legal notice drafted by Farooq H Naek.
It said Mr. Zardari believes in complete freedom of speech as guaranteed in Article 19 of the Constitution. However, the statements made in the book without proper investigation and verification were not made in the spirit of freedom of expression but were made irresponsibly and with ulterior motive, the legal counsel Farooq Naek said in the legal notice.
Mr. Asif Ali Zardari is entitled for 500 million rupees in damages for loss of reputation and another 500 million rupees for mental agony and torture, the notice says.
The Spokesperson said that notice further asks the author and publishers to immediately withdraw the book from book stores, end the defamation campaign and give a written assurance within fourteen (14) days to this effect.
The counsel Senator Farooq H Naek also warned that if the demands made were not complied with within fourteen (14) days, Mr. Zardari would be entitled to seek further monetary damages and equitable relief.
“In the event you fail to meet this demand, please be advised that our client has asked us to communicate to you that he will pursue all available legal remedies, including seeking monetary damages to initiate criminal proceedings under the law”.
The former President has decided to donate the receipts from damages for defamation to charity, Farhatullah Babar said.
This notice is without prejudice to the rights and remedies available to our client and Pakistan Peoples Party and its workers inter alia before the Government of Pakistan; the Ministry of Information; and the Honourable Courts of Law, Farooq H Naek further said.
Frhatullah Babar said that the notice also places in juxtaposition the achievements of Mr. Asif Zardari and the slanderous campaign him to drive home the point that the book was no more than déjà vu and part of the decades old campaign.
Mr. Asif Zardari is a highly important political figure commanding great respect who served as head of the state, as federal minister and a member of both houses of the Parliament, the notice says. He restored the democratic constitution, took the unprecedented decision to voluntarily abdicate his powers and transfer them to the Parliament, forged consensus for the 7th NFC award and provincial autonomy to address misgivings of smaller provinces, launched the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) to end the generational poverty cycle and inspired legislative pieces seeking to end tyrannizing women.
Recalling how Mr. Zardari and the PPP have been victimized the notice says that the political victimization and torture of the party leaders and workers went back to 5th July, 1977 when an elected Prime Ministrer Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was dismissed, arrested and finally judicially executed.
The remnants of Zia and the anti-democratic forces continued to conspire and illegally dismissed the duly elected PPP governments in 1990 and 1996 followed by registration of false cases against them. Bankers, businessmen, bureaucrats, family members and personal staff of the PPP leaders were arrested, tortured and offered inducements to give perjured statements or face financial and personal ruin.
It says that Mr Zardari was also kept in jail in sub human conditions and police officers were arrested and tortured to implicate him in false cases. Three investigative officers were replaced and two sub divisional magistrates changed when they refused to record statements
in violation of the law. When on the order of the Sindh High Court Mr Zardari was released on 18th December 1996, he was re-arrested in another false as soon as he stepped out of the prison, the notice recalls. In the Artillery Maidan Police Station Karachi he was tortured while in custody through sleep deprivation for several days and making him stand for hours with a bright light shining into his eyes whilst he was illegally interrogated and pressured to wrongly confess, which he refused proclaiming his innocence.
Continuing, the notice recalls that in May 1999 on Sunday Mr. Zardari was illegally taken out of Central Prison, Karachi and shifted to C.I.A Centre Karachi, where he was not only tortured to sign confessional statement implicating himself and his spouse Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Sahiba but also threatened to be killed. On refusal his neck and tongue were slashed and was then shifted to Agha Khan Hospital while he was bleeding profusely and his clothes soaked in blood. It was a miracle that his life was saved. Despite numerous offers from the governments of the time to leave Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) or to go abroad under a negotiated political exit, he remained steadfast to his ideals and continued to fight for justice and return of democracy. That upon our client’s release after more than eight years he had to face sorrow and brutal killing of his wife Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Sahiba at the hands of the anti-democratic forces.