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
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, Tourism & 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 & Literary Heritage Division,
Evacue Trust Complex, Islamabad F-5/1
Mr. Mashhood Ahmed Mirza, Joint Secretary
Ministry of Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage
National History & Literary 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 intentions 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 have been 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 at the handing over the tomb to the Heritage Foundation in the presence of the US Ambassador and the Advisor/Minister of Culture for conservation of the tomb. However, Mr. Qasim Ali Qasim, Director of Archaeology & Museums, Culture Department,Government 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 DawnNewspaper began defamation of the Heritage Foundation with the false, dishonest, fraudulent, mischievous report in Dawndated 24.2.16 titled, “Historical Sultan Ibrahim tomb damaged during rehabilitation work” with theintention of blackmailing the Heritage Foundationby 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 would be set up to hold an inquiry.
- That on the next day, Dr. Niaz Ali Abbasi, Secretary of the Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Department, on the basis of the aforesaid false and fraudulent Dawnreport, issued notification no. SO(G)CIBAD/TOMB/2016 dated 25 February 2016, constituting an inquiry committee of eight “to investigate the alleged damage that 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 aforesaidreport in Dawndated 24.2.16 also stated that, “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 “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 was 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”. Dawnfailed to report that only 3 out of 9 members of the inquiry committee had signed the report, which amounted 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 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.
8. That Mr. Mohsin S. Haqqani, Federal Secretary and Mr. Mashhood Ahmed Mirza, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage, National History & Literary Heritage Division, joined in to defame the Heritage Foundation by asking the 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 engaged in begging at the Makli necropolis.
9 That Dawndated 13.5.16 published the defamatory report that the Sindh Culture Department had been asked by the Officers of the Federal Ministry of Heritage to remove temporary structures built by the Heritage Foundation, without mentioning that the US had withdrawn funds allocated to them for the 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 to the history of Islam and Pakistan, is self evident from the innumerable encroachments and the building of concrete structures all over heritage sites in total violation of the commitment made by government of Pakistan to the UNESCO.
10 ThatDawndated 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 Dawndated 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 foundation’s 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 a human rights petition against them was pending before the Supreme Court. And they frightened away a lawyer by saying that they would kill, mutilate and bury Lari in Makli
12 ThatDawn, dated 24.2.16, published the false, dishonest and defamatory report quoting Qasim Ali Qasim and Abdul Hamid Akhund, saying that ‘work had been carried out by unskilled labour and unqualified professionals’. That Dawndated 27.2.16 repeated this defamation again, quoting Qasim Ali Qasim and Abdul Hamid Akhund in saying that ‘work had been carried out by unskilled labour under the supervision of unqualified professionals’. That Dawnrepeated 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”.
13. 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 certified by NED University Lab.
14. That the Heritage Foundation has appointed several consultants, including 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 theirfirst 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.
16. That the Heritage Foundation chief 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 all directors should be elected for not more than two years and not more than two terms.
17. That it angered the aforementioned, who have acquired billions of public funds in the name of heritage, while historic heritage sites are encroached upon, pilfered from and destroyed without proper inventory, demarcation or boundary walls, They have joined with bhatta khor, and started to defame, libel, slander and blackmail the Heritage Foundation to force Ms. Yasmeen Lari, SI, HI,to withdraw her petitionbefore the Supreme Court.
18. In the circumstances our client demands:
a. That Dawnnewspaper, its ceo, editor, publisher and printer should publish an apology to the Heritage Foundation on the front page of Dawnnewspaper.
b. All the aforementioned persons should submit personal apologies to the Heritage Foundation.
c. That they must also make the following payments to the Heritage Foundation to enable it 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:
i. From DawnNewspaper Rs. 50 crores
ii. From Mr. Hamid Haroon Rs. 10 crores
iii. From Mr. Abdul Hameed Akhund Rs. 10 cores
iv. From Mr. Qasim Ali Qasim Rs. 10 crores
v. From Mr. Kamil Khan Mumtaz Rs. 10 crores
vi. 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