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Ex-CJP Iftikhar jumps into foray; locks horns with Imran

25 July, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Thursday served a Rs 20 billion defamation notice on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for hurling allegations of poll rigging at him.

Talking to media outside the Supreme Court, Naseer Kiayani, Sheikh Ahsanuddin and Taufeeq Asif, lawyers of the former chief justice, said the defamation notice had been served on the PTI chairman, and it calls for an apology within 15 days and withdrawal of his statement against Iftikhar Chaudhry. The lawyers stated that the services rendered by the ex-CJP were laudable. The notice states that Imran Khan had levelled allegations against the former CJP after his retirement, which is why he has resorted to legal proceedings against him.

The notice also states that Imran Khan levelled baseless allegations against the judiciary. Iftikhar Chaudhry's lawyers said that Imran Khan openly made the accusations against the former CJP soon after his retirement. They said that the judiciary deputed officers of courts for general election duties on the request of the Election Commission of Pakistan and they were not inclined towards any party.

Imran Khan had been accusing the ex-CJP of involvement in the rigging of May 11, 2013 general elections. The footages and other relevant material have been obtained by the team of counsels of the former chief justice. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry retired from the post in December 2013. Through the defamation notice the former chief justice of Pakistan said, "I may withdraw my claim if you willingly tender an unconditional apology or you agree to pay the damages as quantified hereinabove within a period of fourteen (14) days."

The notice further said, "Otherwise I would have no option except to bring a civil action against you before the competent forum in accordance with law. I also reserve my right to initiate other civil and criminal proceedings against you, in accordance with the law, both inside and outside the jurisdiction of Pakistan, if unconditional apology is not tendered by you."

The former CJP in his notice said, "I have decided to invoke the law of defamation against your maliciously false, motivated and reckless statements. I claim from you in damages a token sum of Rs 15 billion only; and another Rs 5 billion only as damages for mental agonies, torture, harassment, humiliation, etc., caused to me as well as my family."

Iftikhar Chaudhry also said that "no amount of damages can adequately compensate me for the loss that your mischievous and false statements have caused to me, or to the institution of Pakistan's judiciary, or to the people of Pakistan who are the ultimate custodians of both the judiciary and the electoral process".

"However, I feel compelled to seek legal recourse against you because I believe strongly that our country should be governed by the rule of law and that my hard-earned reputation must remain protected. Adventurers like you who casually assault the reputations of innocents for gaining political mileage must not be allowed to get away with impunity."

He further states in his notice, "That I laid down robes of office of chief justice on 12th December, 2013 and thereto you started using slanderous, malicious and preposterous language against me in TV programmes and by delivering speeches in public meetings and press-conferences, alleging that I was involved in the rigging of the elections with the object of favouring a particular political party."

The defamation notice said "it was great surprise that while issuing your false and defamatory statement you deliberately and maliciously ignored the fact that the chief justice of Pakistan is not responsible for appointing DROs and ROs for elections."

End.

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