Islamabad: Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief and the mastermind of Mumbai terrorist attack Hafiz Saeed has sent a Rs. 100 million defamation notice to Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for his remarks at the Asia Society forum in New York earlier this week.
The notice was sent by a legal team and served by Advocate AK Dogar on behalf of Saeed on Friday under Section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance of 2002. The notice claimed that Saeed is "respected as a deeply religious and devout Muslim".
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had recently refused to accept the blame for the presence of the Haqqani Network and Hafiz Saeed in his country, saying it was United States that regarded these 'terrorists' as the darlings of the White House a few decades back.
"Don't blame us for the Haqqanis [the Haqqani Network] and don't blame us for the Hafiz Saeed, chief of banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa. These were the people who were your darlings just 20 to 30 years back. They were being dined and wined in the White House, and now, you say 'go to hell Pakistanis because you are nurturing these people," The Dawn quoted Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif as saying at the Asia Society in New York.
"It is very easy to say Pakistan is floating the Haqqanis and Hafiz Saeed and Lashkar-e-Taiba. They are liabilities. I accept that they are liabilities, but give us time to get rid of them, because we don't have the assets to match these liabilities and you are increasing our liabilities further," he added.
The notice accuses Asif of "an absolute lie and falsehood that Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is one of those persons who had been the darlings of Americans and had been dining and wining in the White House," the Dawn reported.
"I have been advised by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed to tell you that he has never been near the White House, not to speak of wined and dined. It is shocking to know that the foreign minister of my country is accusing Hafiz Muhammad Saeed of taking wine. This is abusive language and can never be used about my client. He is [a] patriotic Islam loving Muslim following the dictates of [the] Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). This is a defamatory statement punishable under Section 500 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to five years imprisonment and with [a] fine," Advocate Dogar was quoted by Dawn as saying.
"Please take notice that my client intends to file a suit for damages to the tune of Rs. 100m for hurting the reputation of my client not only in Pakistan but all over the world," he further said in the notice.
Saeed was put under house arrest at his residence in Lahore's Johar Town earlier this year
Responding to an appeal for Saeed's release before the Lahore High Court, the Punjab home ministry recently said that releasing the JuD chief would cause unrest in the province.
Saeed is a wanted terrorist by India and the United States for his alleged role in masterminding the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai that claimed 166 lives.
He even carries a bounty of 10 million USD (approx. Rs 66 crore) on his head for his role in the attack.
He is an internationally designated terrorist but continues to be an influential person in Pakistan's certain religious groups.
Pakistan claims to have banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), but following the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2002, it re-emerged as Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD). The United States has designated the JuD as a front for the LeT.