Zardari Slaps Rs 1 Bn Notice on Author, Publishers for 'Deragatory' Content

Sajjad Hussain/Islamabad
Zardari Slaps Rs 1 Bn Notice on Author, Publishers for 'Deragatory' Content

Pakistan's former President Asif Ali Zardari has slapped a legal notice of Rs one billion on a prominent businessman and author of a book for publishing "false and derogatory" content to malign his reputation.

The Pakistan Peoples Party chairman also served the notice to the book's publishers -- Penguin Books in India and Liberty Books in Karachi.

The book Truth Always Prevails, authored by the country's prominent businessman Sadruddin Hashwani, was launched yesterday in Islamabad and its excerpts have already been published in a number of media outlets.

Hashwani, Chairman of Hashoo Group, is owner of known international hotel chains in Pakistan like Marriott and Pearl Continental, and is also considered close to the army.

The contents of the alleged statement against Zardari in the book were not immediately known, but Hashwani in an interview had blamed Zardari and other politicians for corruption.

Zardari's spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar said in a statement that the notice threatened to file a criminal suit against the author and publishers for wilfully publishing "false, derogatory and vexatious" content "full of blatant lies" to damage his reputation.

"The cumulative direct effect of the distortions in the book is to tarnish the reputation of 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 Zardari but also of the PPP and its workers," says the legal notice.

The notice argued that the "statements made in the book, without proper investigation and verification, were irresponsible and made with an ulterior motive."

The notice adds that the PPP chairman is entitled to Rs 500 million in damages for loss of reputation and another Rs 500 million for mental agony and torture.

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 14 days to this effect.

The counsel, Farooq Naek, also warned that if the demands made were not complied with within 14 days, Zardari would be entitled to seek further monetary damages and equitable relief.

The former President has decided to donate the receipts from damages for defamation to charity, Farhatullah Babar said.

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