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Ex-CJ sues PTI chief for Rs20 bn damages

Rigging allegations

By our correspondents
January 21, 2015
ISLAMABAD: Former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has filed a Rs20 billion defamation suit against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.
The sessions Judge, Islamabad, sent a notice to the PTI chairman to submit his reply to the court on January 29.Imran Khan had accused Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry of involvement in rigging in the general elections 2013.
The former CJ, in his petition filed through his lawyers Sheikh Ahsanuddin and Taufiq Asif in the court of Sessions Judge Nazir Ahmed Gujjana, stated that Imran Khan had alleged that the former chief justice was involved in rigging in the last general elections in which the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) emerged as the ruling party.
The former chief justice in the petition stated that the PTI chairman levelled baseless allegations against him, which had damaged his credibility. Now Khan should either ask for pardon or pay Rs20 billion as damages as the PTI chairman has not been able to prove his claims so far.
The judge issued a notice to Imran Khan to submit his reply to the court on January 29.Talking to media persons outside the court, lawyers of former chief justice said the PTI chairman had levelled baseless allegations against Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in his speeches and he had not proved any allegation yet.
“The former chief justice is ready to appear before a judicial commission,” the lawyers said.Sources in the PTI confirmed that the legal team of the party had also started preparations to submit a reply to the court from Imran Khan.
Agencies add: The petition was filed under Section 9 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002 through a group of lawyers, comprising Nayaab Hassan Gardezi, Toufique Asif, Sheikh Ahsan-ud-Din, Aamir Mughal, Razaullah Niazi and Raja Zahid.
The petitioner demanded Rs15 billion as damages from the PTI chief for defaming him at home and abroad by hurling baseless, mischievous and malicious allegations through his speeches.
He also accused the respondent of using slanderous and disparaging language in his interviews against him.The ex-CJP’s counsel also claimed Rs5 billion as damages for mental agony, torture, harassment, etc, caused to him and his family.
The amount recovered as damages shall be dedicated to an honourable cause for furtherance of a national institution and welfare of the downtrodden, the counsel added.Moreover, the erstwhile CJP pleaded the district and sessions judge to allow him to become a party in the proposed judicial commission (JC) demanded by the PTI chief to probe the alleged rigging in the last general elections.
“I make a categorical statement that PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s allegations of my involvement in rigging in general elections 2013 are not only false, baseless, yet defamatory, slanderous and are based on no evidence, therefore, action against Khan is called for under the law and if judicial commission is constituted, I be also allowed to become a party,” he added.
Iftikhar Chaudhry stated that as per his knowledge, so far no commission — in response to a letter by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights on August 3, 2014 addressed to the registrar of the Supreme Court to constitute a commission of enquiry under the Pakistan Commission of Enquiry Act, 1956 (Act No. VI of 1956) — had been constituted by the apex court.
If the commission was constituted, he be allowed to become a party so that he could prove that Imran Khan’s allegations of his involvement in rigging were false, baseless, defamatory and slanderous, and based on no evidence, he noted.
The ex-CJP maintained that in the proposal, which was available with the media about negotiations between the PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to resolve the controversy relating to rigging in the 2013 general elections, not a single term of reference was proposed to probe into the allegations against him (Iftikhar Chaudhry).