Muneer A Malik
Mr. Muneer A. Malik
MCAS&W Law Associates
F-66/3, Park Lane, Block 5,
Clifton, Karachi 75600
9221 35873221, 35873222
This refers to your letter dated 14 July 2016.
I regret to say that I paid nine thousand for three cases to Farook Naik in the 1980’s, and now I am told that I will have to pay him a crore. Lawyers have become mercenary and law and justice is beyond the reach of ordinary hardworking honest people who are being blackmailed by the media mafia. Therefore we accepted when journalist Ghazi Salahuddin offered to talk to Dawn editor Zaffar Abbas, because he said that he was a good man. However, nothing came out of it.
As the hero of the lawyers movement you are well aware of your position and responsibility as an officer of the court which is no less than that of a judge, a bureaucrat, a politician, etc. Therefore I ask you kindly to listen to me and give heed to what I have to say.
We keep on talking of eradicating corruption, but we allow the newspaper Dawn, founded by the Father of the Nation and funded and managed by the All India Muslim League in their struggle for Pakistan, to be usurped and used as an organ of corruption and blackmail, and to turn the country into a laughing stock with the diplomatic community interested in conserving world heritage sites in Pakistan.
After independence, Muslim League journalists brought Dawn newspaper from Delhi to Karachi, and printed it in the Muslim League press set up by the then local Muslim League leader, Mr. Yusuf Haroon. After some time, Mr. Yusuf Haroon tried to replace Dawn with his own paper, named Herald, but the Quaid-e-Azam told Mr. Yusuf Haroon who was considered one of his blue-eyed boys that he would have him arrested. Mr. Yusuf Haroon told me that he took Mr. Jinnah very seriously and that therefore he took the first flight abroad. However, after the Quaid-i-Azam was dead and Mr. Yusuf Haroon was back in Pakistan, another attempt was made in April 1950 to replace Dawn with Herald, but this was foiled by people led by the Madar-i-Millat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, who came out with the statement that Dawn belonged to the nation and could not be treated as the property of an individual. When Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah died and the country was in a stupor under dictatorship, with Mr. Altaf Husain, appointed by the Quaid–i-Azam as editor of Dawn, was appointed Federal Minister, Mr. Yusuf Haroon quietly took control of Dawn.
When Mr. Yusuf Haroon was forced to leave the country under the next government and his editor Mr. Altaf Gohar was arrested, he left Dawn in the care of his younger brother, Mr. Mahmood Haroon, who used Dawn to become Governor of Sindh and a federal minister. He also usurped Dawn, and employed one of his nephews, Mr. Hameed Haroon, who was party to his usurpation, as its CEO. When Mr. Yusuf Haroon returned from exile, and tried to reclaim Dawn, he was refused; therefore he filed a case against his brother, Mr. Mahmood Haroon, and his nephew, Mr. Hameed Haroon, for its return.
The Dawn media group under Mr. Hameed Haroon has opposed and defamed the Heritage Foundation since then. For example, Dawn published a critical review of A History of Sindh by the Heritage Foundation written by a person who had not even read the book. Therefore a rebuttal was sent, which was not published by Dawn. Fortunately, Mr. Ahmed Ali Khan who had retired came back as editor of Dawn and published the rebuttal. Similarly, one evening a book on Sindh published by the Heritage Foundation was launched by a former chief minister, Syed Muzaffer Husain Shah: but that morning the Dawn media group’s evening paper, the Star, published a long article with a banner headline on both front and back pages of the paper, attacking the book and its author. Syed Muzaffer Husain Shah in his speech said, “I do not understand this attack by the Star, because everyone knows how much Yasmeen and Suhail have done for Sindh”. This was kind of Muzaffer, but the Star neither covered Muzaffer’s speech nor published the rebuttal, because now there was no Ahmad Ali Khan to stand up to such blatant injustice and defamation.
The Heritage Foundation chief, Ms. Yasmeen Lari, SI, HI, was speaking at a seminar at Islamabad about the sorry state of heritage in Pakistan where Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany of the Supreme Court was also present. Justice Osmany suggested that Ms. Lari should write to the Supreme Court.
Ms. Lari, SI, HI, wrote to the Supreme Court against the syphoning off of public funds in the name of heritage. Therefore it stated that all organizations created for heritage with public funds should appoint officers on merit through public advertisement. And that all directors should be elected for not more than two years and not more than two terms. Ms. Lari repeatedly said that the entire board of the Endowment Fund Trust and Mohatta Palace Museum, including herself, should resign and make way for others. The Governor of Sindh who nominated the trustees agreed with this, but did not dare to implement it.
Ms. Lari’s petition to the Supreme Court angered those who had acquired billions from public funds in the name of heritage, while historic heritage sites are encroached upon, pilfered from and destroyed without proper inventory, demarcation or boundary.
The Heritage Foundation has carried out 9 heritage projects in Sindh, including an inventory of monuments and a map of the Buffer Zone and the Core Zone of WHS Makli. As a result UNESCO did not place Makli, which is the largest Muslim necropolis in the world, on the endangered list. The meticulous work by the Heritage Foundation resulted in various agencies from different countries joining in to preserve Pakistan’s heritage.
To force Ms. Lari, to withdraw her petition before the Supreme Court, a campaign was started against the Heritage Foundation. Their first target was the tomb of Sultan Ibrahim, which is a project funded by the US Ambassador’s Fund. And because the USA is not in favour of corruption, it made no provision for bhatta or largesse, which annoyed them.
In the light of the above I implore you to give up advocacy of the Haroons and join us to restore Dawn to honest and patriotic journalists of Pakistan by handing it over to PFUJ, to run the editorial side of Dawn by appointing Mr. Zafar Abbas as its editor. Further, the Dawn media group should be handed over to an association of office holders of the All India Muslim League and/or their children to run the press.
That is if we care. If we dare. And if we are not the hollow men, the stuffed men filled with straw, making this the dead land, the cactus land, turning it into a wasteland, without respect for its heritage and history, and allow the largest Muslim necropolis in the world as declared by UNESCO, and of which Pakistan is a signatory, as the world heritage site Makli, to be destroyed.
I do not think that Dawn under Haroon would publish a full page apology as it ought to do in honour of the largest Muslim Necropolis, Makli, world heritage site. However I am sending what I consider to be the minimum in this connection, text for your consideration:
Dawn profusely apologises that it published Mr. Abdul Hamid Akhund, Secretary of the Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh (EFT) and Trustee of the Mohatta Palace Museum, who wrote letter No. EFT/Projects/1-/2016 dated 16 February 2016 to the Secretary of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Department, Government of Sindh, with malicious intent to blackmail, falsely and dishonestly stating that “the Heritage Foundation has about 2-3 months back damaged the outer shell of the tomb of Sultan Ibrahim, Makli WHS, which damage has put the structural integrity of the dome at risk.” That Dawn apologises profusely for publishing the letter of Mr. Qasim Ali Qasim, Director of Archaeology & Museums, Culture Department, Governmemt of Sindh, which was equally dishonest, fraudulent and mischievous when he replied the same day to Mr. Akhund vide letter No 27/3-Dams-Adam/2016 dated 16 February 2016, stating, “the Dome of Sultan Ibrahim has been damaged by M/s Heritage Foundation.”
- That Dawn apologizes that Dawn dated 24.2.16 published the false report titled, “Historical Sultan Ibrahim tomb damaged during rehabilitation work”, by quoting Mr. Akhund and Mr. Qasim. It was ridiculous to suggest that damage, if any, to a thin outer layer could in any way affect the structure of the huge Mughal dome. In fact there have been a number of holes/apertures in the thin outer layer of the tomb for decades, seen in photographs taken by the Dawn over the years.
- That Dawn apologizes that in its report dated 27.2.16 titled, “Team of experts formed to probe damage to historical tomb”, it made the mistake of not stating that an Inquiry Committee of some of functionaries and beneficiaries of Hameed Haroon and Abdul Hamid Akhund was created, in complete disregard of UNESCO, which is responsible for all the World Heritage Sites, and regularly undertakes a review of the state of World Heritage Site Makli.
- That Dawn apologizes for making the mistake of not reporting that the Chairman of the Inquiry Committee, Kamil Khan Mumtaz, stated that “since none of the members were structural experts, and the main allegation pertained to damage caused to the dome, it was essential that a civil engineer was made part of the Inquiry Committee.” Engineer Mushtaq Dawood was added to the committee, and the Engineer Mushtaq Dawood visited the tomb of Sultan Ibrahim and said that the talk of damaging the tomb by the Heritage Foundation was absolute nonsense and he did not sign the report.
- That Dawn apologizes that its issue dated 17.4.16 published the defamatory report falsely titled, “Probe confirms damage to 15th-century tomb at Makli”. Dawn failed to report that only 3 out of 9 members of the Inquiry Committee had signed the report, which was tantamount to a rejection rather than a confirmation of the alleged damage. Furthermore, since three signatures appear only on the last page of the six-page report, the five pages which carry no numbers or signatures could easily have been changed. This is clear from the statement of Architect Shahab Ghani Khan, one of the three signatories, who said that he had signed the report because the chairman of the inquiry committee had told him that it was against alleged damage and in favour of the Heritage Foundation.
- That Dawn apologizes that its issue dated 22.4.16 published the defamatory editorial, “Neglect of Heritage”, which mentioned the visit of UNESCO, which is the protector of World Heritage Sites, but failed to state that UNESCO inspected the tomb of Sultan Ibrahim and saw no damage, and asking the Heritage Foundation to do further work on the revival of kashi tiles, which have been pilfered regularly from Makli and other Sindh monuments.
- That Dawn apologizes that its issue dated 13.5.16 published the defamatory report that the Sindh Culture Department has been asked by the officers belonging to the Federal Ministry of Heritage, to remove temporary structures built by the Heritage Foundation for the purpose of training artisans and for income generating activities for the poor, who are otherwise engaged in begging at the Makli necropolis. That Dawn failed to report that these federal officers are those from whom the USA has withdrawn funds allocated for the conservation of the Sheikhupra Fort, which was documented by the Heritage Foundation. That their incompetence and ineptitude, lack of patriotism, disloyalty to heritage and to the history of Islam and Pakistan, is self evident from the innumerable encroachments and building of concrete structures all over heritage sites in total violation of the commitment made by the Government of Pakistan to UNESCO.
- That Dawn apologises that it did not report that the Heritage Foundation was forced to move with UNESCO experts to nearby village where it built new structures, and a kiln for Italian ceramic experts sent by UNESCO to impart their knowledge to artisans of Sindh. The workshop had to be conducted in heat and dust, while the air conditioned rest house in Makli built to house such experts working in Makli remained empty.
- That Dawn apologizes that its issue dated 27.2.16 made the defamatory statement against the Heritage Foundation that “An amount of US $ 260,000 has been provided as financial assistance from the US Ambassador’s Fund for Culture”. That Dawn apologizes that its issues dated 17.4.16, 21.4.16 and 13.5.16 repeated the defamatory report, because the US embassy only reimburses the expenses incurred by the Heritage Foundation. And neither Ms. Lari nor any other director of the Heritage Foundation takes any salary, share, profit or dividend.
- That Dawn apologizes that it did not report that in complete disregard of the concept of conflict of interest, they invited the supreme court judges to a Mohatta Palace function organized in memory of a legal luminary, which the former had never done before, while a human rights petition against them is pending before the Supreme Court. And they frightened away a lawyer by saying that they would kill, mutilate and bury Lari in Makli.
- That Dawn apologizes that the issue dated 24.2.16, published the false, dishonest and defamatory report quoting Qasim Ali Qasim and Abdul Hamid Akhund, that ‘work had been carried out by unskilled labour and unqualified professionals’. That Dawn apologizes that the issues dated 27.2.16, 21.4.16 and 13.5.16 repeated this defamation.
- That Dawn acknowledges that the Heritage Foundation has more experience of construction and conservation work and has more highly qualified professionals than all the persons belonging to all its opponents. That apart from major monuments in Punjab, KPK and Sindh, the Heritage Foundation has helped build over forty thousand earthquake and flood-resistant houses in over a hundred villages in Sindh alone.
- That Dawn acknowledges that the Heritage Foundation has appointed several consultants, including a conservation architect as well as a consultative committee of experts, to oversee its work on the tomb of Sultan Ibrahim. The U.S. government, which has funded the project, appointed their own expert from Washington to inspect the tomb regularly. And UNESCO, which protects World Heritage Sites all over the world, has visited Makli twice this year in February and April 2016.
- That Dawn acknowledges that Ms. Lari was the President of Institute of Architects and the first Chairperson of Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners, and her work for low-income groups became the subject of study at the Aga Khan Programme on Architecture at MIT, where she was invited to lecture.
- That Dawn acknowledges that the Heritage Foundation chief Ms. Lari was also the first person to start documenting and preserving the heritage of Pakistan. For example, when the GPO on Mall Road in Lahore caught fire and was to be demolished, she restored it. Similarly, when Flagstaff House, the Hindu Gymkhana and Mohatta Palace in Karachi came under threat, she documented them and restored Flagstaff House as the Quaid-i-Azam House Museum, despite opposition by the Dawn group. Mr. Hameed Haroon invited President General Zia to the annual function of APNS to get possession of the Hindu Gymkhana but General Zia told him that he would give it to him on his marriage.
- That Dawn acknowledges that the Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act 1994, proposed by Ms. Lari, was unanimously passed by the Sindh Assembly, whereby about 600 Karachi buildings catalogued and published by Ms. Lari were notified and provided protection. And the then secretary to the Government of Sindh, Abdul Hamid Akhund, is reputed to have said that the buildings had been notified at gunpoint. By that he meant that despite being the blue-eyed boy of Sindh Governor Mr. Mahmood Haroon and the soul-mate of Mr. Hameed Haroon of Dawn, he was helpless before the support that the Heritage Foundation had of the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Chief Minister Syed Abdullah Shah and the opposition in the Sindh Assembly.
- That Dawn acknowledges that to stop them from de-notifying heritage buildings for the creation of shopping plazas, the Heritage Foundation created Karavan Karachi to generate public awareness and support for heritage. Karavan Karachi met every Sunday at a heritage building where school bands would start playing in the afternoon to attract people. With thousands of people watching, the chief guest would place a plaque on the heritage building, followed by speeches, plays, skits, and music shows relating to heritage offered by schools and theatre groups.
- That Dawn acknowledges that the Heritage Foundation has received the UN Recognition Award 2002 for the promotion of culture and peace.
- That Dawn acknowledges that when one of the important heritage sites in Pakistan, that is the Shish Mahal of Lahore Fort, was endangered, the Heritage Foundation chief Ms. Lari was asked by UNESCO to lead the team to save it.
- That Dawn acknowledges that the Heritage Foundation chief Ms. Lari was appointed National Advisor for conservation and preservation of Lahore Fort by UNESCO for 2003-2006.
- That Dawn acknowledges that UNESCO has devoted a chapter to the Heritage Foundation chief Ms. Lari as one of sixty women from all over the world who have made a significant contribution to UNESCO since its inception.
- That Dawn acknowledges that the Heritage Foundation chief Ms. Lari was declared Islamic Development Bank (Jeddah) Laureate, 2013.
- That Dawn acknowledges that the Heritage Foundation has, without any assistance or funding from the government, helped people build, in over a hundred and fifty villages, over forty thousand earthquake and flood resistant houses, over thirty thousand smokeless chulas and hundreds of latrines at almost zero carbon footprint, which is the largest zero carbon intervention in the world.
- That Dawn acknowledges that the Heritage Foundation chief Ms. Lari is the only Pakistani architect whose work has been exhibited among eight architects from around the world, by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) from January to April 2016, and was invited by them to lecture and conduct a workshop in London on how to work with sustainable materials at almost zero carbon footprint.
- That Dawn acknowledges that due to the pathbreaking creations of Heritage Foundation chief Ms. Lari, her work has been exhibited in the First Chicago Architectural Biennale. That due to her innovative approaches she has been invited to speak at the Oslo Architectural Triennale in September 2016.
- That Dawn acknowledges that the 20th Century World Architecture Atlas, comprising architecture between 1900 and 1999 in 97 countries of the world, published from London and New York, has chosen one of Ms. Lari ’s works among the 757 most outstanding edifices built during the twentieth century.
- That Dawn acknowledges that the Heritage Foundation chief Ms. Lari has been chosen on 30 May 2016, for her extraordinary contribution, from all over Asia to receive the prestigious Japanese “Fukouka Art and Culture Prize 2016 as Architect, Architectural Historian, Heritage Conservationist and Human Aid Worker”.
Suhail Zaheer Lari
E6, Fourth Gizri Street, DHA-IV,
2 August 2016