Notice to Defamers
Dr. Ziauddin Road. Karachi, through
Chairperson, Ms. Amber Haroon Saigol
CEO, Mr. Hameed Haroon
Editor, Mr. Zaffar Abbas
Publisher, Mr. Waseem Ahmed
Printer, Mr. Khawaja Kaleem
Mr. Hameed Haroon
The Manging Trustee,
Mohatta Palace Museum
11 Hatim Alvi Road
Mr. Abdul Hamid Akhund,
Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh (EFT),
C 107, Block 2, Kehkashan,
Mr. Qasim Ali Qasim,
Directorate of Archaeology & Museums Sindh,
Culture, Tourisn & Antiquities Department,
Governmemt of Sindh,
Sindh Secretariat, Block No 76/A in front of MPA Hostel,
Dr. Niaz Ali Abbasi,
Secretary, Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Department
Sindh Secretariat, Block No 76/A, Saddar, Karachi
Mr. Kamil Khan Mumtaz,
Street C, Lahore 54840, Pakistan
Mr. Mohsin S. Haqqani, Federal Secretary
Ministry of Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage,
National History & Litrary Heritage Division,
Evacue Trust Complex, Islamabad F-5/1
Mr. Mashhood Ahmed Mirza, Joint Secretary
Ministry of Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage
National History & Litrary Heritage Division,
Evacue Trust Complex, Islamabad F-5/1
Notice under Section 8 of the Defamation Act 2002
I, Suhail Zaheer Lari, represent the Heritage Foundation and its chief Mrs. Yasmeen Lari, also my wife, who have been defamed and blackmailed by false, fraudulent and distorted letters and statements exchanged and reports published with dishonest, fraudulent, mischievous and malicious intensions to blackmail in Dawn newspaper on 24.2.16, 27.2.16, 17.4.16, 21.4.16, 1.5.16, 10.5.16 and 13.5.16. as follows:
- That Mr. Abdul Hamid Akhund, Secretary, Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh (EFT) and Trustee Mohatta Palace Museum, wrote a dishonest, fraudulent, mischievous letter No. EFT/Projects/1-/2016 dated 16 February 2016 to the Secretary of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Department, Government of Sindh, with malicious intensions 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 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 are a number of holes/apertures in the thin outer layer of the tomb for decades which can be seen in old photographs of the tomb as well as the photographs taken on handing over the tomb to the Heritage Foundation in the presence of US Ambassador and Advisor/Minister of Culture for conservation of the tomb. However, Mr. Qasim Ali Qasim, Director of Archaeology & Museums, Culture Department, Governmemt of Sindh, replied the same day with dishonest, fraudulent, mischievous intention to blackmail the Heritage Foundation to Mr. Akhund vide letter No 27/3-Dams-Adam/2016 dated 16 February 2016, falsely and dishonestly stating, “the Dome of Sultan Ibrahim has been damaged by M/s Heritage Foundation.”
- That Mr. Hameed Haroon, Managing Trustee of the Mohatta Palace Museum, Trustee of Endowment Fund Trust, CEO of Dawn, and Dawn Newspaper began defamation of the Heritage Foundation with the false, dishonest, fraudulent, mischievous report in Dawn dated 24.2.16 titled, “Historical Sultan Ibrahim tomb damaged during rehabilitation work” with the intention to blackmail the Heritage Foundation by quoting Mr. Akhund and Mr. Qasim and referring to aforesaid dishonest, fraudulent, mischievous letters exchanged between them on 16 February 2016 and reporting that a team will be set up to hold an inquiry.
- That on the next day, Niaz Ali Abbasi, Secretary, Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Department, on the basis of aforesaid false and fraudulent Dawn report, issued notification no. SO(G)CIBAD/TOMB/2016 dated 25 February 2016, constituting an inquiry committee of eight “to investigate the alleged damage occurred to the tomb of ‘Mir Sultan Ibrahim’ at Makli during the conservation work undertaken by M/s Heritage Foundation Pakistan …. and stop work till the report and final decision by the Culture Department.”
- That neither Mr. Akhund nor Mr. Qasim nor Mr. Haroon nor Mr. Abbasi are engineers, capable of assessing structural damage. Also, they had no access to the tomb while the documentation and conservation work was being carried out by the Heritage Foundation. That the aforesaid report in Dawn dated 24.2.16 also stated, “a UNESCO team visited the site on Feb 20 and was preparing its report” dishonestly failing to state that UNESCO did not find or report any damage to the tomb by the Heritage Foundation.
- That Kamil Khan Mumtaz, the Chairman of the Inquiry Committee, 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 is made part of the Inquiry Committee.” Therefore, Engineer Mushtaq Dawood was added to the committee, making it nine in number. That Engineer. Mushtaq Dawood visited the tomb of Sultan Ibrahim and said that talk of damaging the tomb by the Heritage Foundation is absolute nonsense and did not sign the report. However, Kamil Khan Mumtaz, the Chairman of the inquiry committee, kept on falsely, dishonestly, fraudulently, mischievously changing his statement to defame the Heritage Foundation.
- That Dawn, dated 17.4.16 published the defamatory report falsely titled, “Probe confirms damage to 15th-century tomb at Makli”. The Dawn failed to report that only 3 out of 9 members of the Inquiry Committee have signed the report, which would amount 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 signaturies, who came with Architect Murad Jamil, and said that he signed the report because the chairman of the inquiry committee told him that it was against alleged damage and in favour of the Heritage Foundation.
- That Mr. Mohsin S. Haqqani, Federal Secretary and Mr. Mashhood Ahmed Mirza, Joint Secretary Ministry of Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage, National History & Litrary Heritage Division, joined in to defame the Heritage Foundation by asking Culture Department 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 engage in begging at the Makli necropolis.
9 That Dawn dated 13.5.16 published the defamatory report that the Sindh Culture Department has been asked by the Officers of the Federal Ministry of Heritage, to remove temporary structures built by the Heritage Foundation without mentioning that US had withdrawn funds allocated to them for preservation and conservation of Sheikhupra Fort which was documented by the Heritage Foundation. That their incompetence and ineptitude, lack of patriotism, disloyalty to heritage and history of Islam and Pakistan, is self evident from innumerable encroachments and building of concrete structures all over heritage sites in total violation of commitment made by government of Pakistan to the UNESCO.
10 That Dawn dated 27.2.16 made the defamatory report against the Heritage Foundation that “An amount of $ 260,000 has been provided as financial assistance from the US Ambassador’s Fund for Culture”. That Dawn dated 17.4.16 repeated the defamatory report that the Heritage Foundation, “received financial assistance of $260,000” out of the US ambassador’s fund”. That Dawn dated 21.4.16 repeated the defamatory report against the Heritage Foundation that, “A financial assistance of $ 260,000 has been provided from the US Ambassador’s Fund for the work” and repeated it in Dawn dated 13.5.16. Actually, the US embassy only reimbursed the expenses. And no director of the Heritage Foundation takes any salary, share, profit or dividend from the Heritage Foundation.
11 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 human rights petition against them is pending before the Supreme Court. And they frightened away a lawyer by saying that they would kill, mutiliate and bury Lari in Makli
12 That Dawn, 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 dated 27.2.16 repeated this defamation again quoting Qasim Ali Qasim and Abdul Hamid Akhund that ‘work had been carried out by unskilled labour under the supervision of unqualified professionals’. That Dawn repeated this defamatory report on 21.4.16 and 13.5.16 falsely stating that “unskilled labour working under unqualified professionals were responsible for the damage”.
- That the Heritage Foundation has more experience of construction and conservation work and has more highly qualified professionals than all its opponents. 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 one hundred villages, tested and cerified by NED University Lab.
- 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.
15 That the Heritage Foundation has carried out 9 heritage projects in Sindh but their first target is the tomb of Sultan Ibrahim, which is a project funded by the US Ambassador’s Fund, because the USA is not in favour of corruption, therefore it made no provision for bhatta or largesse, which annoyed them.
- That the Heritage Foundation chief Ms. Lari, SI, HI, wrote to the Supreme Court against syphoning 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 all directors should be elected for not more than two years and not more than two terms.
- That it angered aforementioned who have acquired billions of public funds in the name of heritage while historic heritage sites are encroached upon, pilfered and destroyed without proper inventory, demarcation or boundry walls, They have joined with bhatta khor, started to defame, libel, slander and blackmail the Heritage Foundation to force Ms. Yasmeen Lari, SI, HI, to withdraw her petition before the Supreme Court.
- In the circumstances our client demands:
- The Dawn newspaper, its ceo, editor, publisher and printer should publish an apology to the Heritage Foundation on the front page of Dawn newspaper
- All the aforementioned person should submit personal apology to the Heritage Foundation.
- That they must also make following payments to the Heritage Foundation to continue its work to help build earthquake resistant and flood and rain proof houses, schools, clinics, smokeless chulas, latrines and provide clean water to poverty stricken illiterate and neglected villagers of Pakistan:
- From Dawn Newspaper Rs. 50 crores
- From Mr. Hamid Haroon Rs 10 crores
iii. From Mr. Abdul Hameed Akhund Rs 10 cores
- From Qasim Ali Qasim Rs 10 crores
- From Kamil Khan Mumtaz Rs 10 crores
- From Mr. Mohsin S Haqqani Rs 5 crores
vii. From Mr. Mashhood Ahmed Mirza Rs 5 crores
viii. From Dr. Niaz Ali Abbasi Rs 5 crores
Please note that if the apology and sum is not received within two weeks from the date hereof, I will take appropriate legal action for civil and criminal defamation, libel and slander as provided under the law.
Suhail Zaheer Lari
E6 Fourth Gizri Street, DHA-IV, Karachi 75500
9 July 2016