Rs10b damages: MQM files lawsuit against a news channel

Published: April 25, 2012

The suit was filed by Dr Farooq Sattar, MQM’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly in his capacity as deputy convener of the party. PHOTO: MQM

KARACHI: A suit for damages worth ten billion rupees was filed by Muttahidda Qaumi Movement leaders against ARY Communications and Kashif Abbasi, host of its programme ‘Off the Record’, for allegedly maligning and insulting Altaf Hussain and the MQM as a party.

The suit was filed by Dr Farooq Sattar, MQM’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly in his capacity as deputy convener of the party.

The plaintiff citing the vision and ideology of Altaf Hussain and revolutionary programme of the party said that as a result of these policies, landed aristocracy always feel threatened. But despite a number of state-sponsored operations against MQM, the party always secured a record number of votes in successive elections.

In view of increasing popularity of the party MQM, another conspiracy was hatched to malign the MQM and its leader Altaf Hussain and as a part of this in a programme ‘Off the Record’ telecast on February 29, 2012 on ARY News Channel the defendant had interviewed Wasim Akhtar of MQM.

The defendant had categorically insinuated that there was an allegation against Altaf Hussain for having taken Rs20 million from agencies, in response to which Wasim Akhtar had stated that Altaf was not arrayed in the list filed in the Supreme Court, of the recipients of the money/funds from the agencies. Wasim Akhtar had also asked the defendant to show the list available in the record of the Supreme Court in Asghar Khan’s case.

Subsequently, in another programme on March 5, 2012, the defendant took the stance that he had no hidden agenda and was not against any political party.  But at the same time, the defendant complained of the demeanour of Wasim Akhtar in his previous programme.

The plaintiff maintained that the defendant was under a legal duty to have consulted the said record before conducting the programme.

A legal notice was served on the defendant on March 15, 2012, for damaging the reputation of Altaf Hussain and the plaintiffs, but till date the defendant has neither denied nor accepted the contents of the legal notice.

The court was prayed to order for an immediate and unconditional apology to the plaintiffs from the defendant, which should be telecast both on national and international television/satellite net-works and also direct the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs ten billion rupees, along with markup from the date of accruing till the date of actual payment.

The suit is likely to be heard next week.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (31)

  • Tahir
    Apr 25, 2012 - 4:42AM

    Political parties get accused of things all the time, MQM believes it is immune from criticism. Remember when Nusrat Javed got taken off air? MQM threatens the media all the time which only reinforces the public opinion of them being a fascist organisation.

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  • aysha
    Apr 25, 2012 - 8:30AM

    It was unfortunate to see Kashif Abbasi, in those two shows, unable to appreciate that among the lot who showed no compunction to accept money from the agencies, there was one person, who had probably never imagined that kind of dough being offered to him rejected it and that too at a very young age. Pakistan is yet to receive its share of journalist who are able to recognize truth and good will and promote it. I wonder if Mr Abbasi will have to sell his UK flat in the process. Or those who got him that flat will be able to protect him, because I don’t think he with his earnings can actually justify ownership of that kind of property. May the truth win and if Mr Altaf Hussain has accepted the said amount that too should be brought out in the open. Hope this case paves way for responsible incisive journalism and not talk shows which generate little except noise.

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  • Beatle
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:00PM

    @Tahir:
    And so does the PTI – in view of its workers.

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  • Beatle
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:04PM

    How many similar lawsuits are filed by various political parties? But we do not see any action by the concerned forum, who are, perhaps,also afraid of cameras and pens?

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  • Sajad
    Apr 25, 2012 - 3:15PM

    Wasim Akhtar had clearly over-reacted and came back with hostility.

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  • Sid
    Apr 25, 2012 - 4:19PM

    @Tahir:
    I think you only see the version of Nusrat Javed,
    AAJ TV has publicly announced that Nusrat Javed has quit not fired , as he claims, . Even he rejoin the same channel after a week. you can watch videos on youtube. Recommend

  • Muhammad Asad
    Apr 25, 2012 - 5:39PM

    Very saddening to see kashif abbasi being attacked like this. He’s a good journalist who raised valid questions but is being hunted down now. I hope he remains safe.

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  • Usman Siddiqui
    Apr 25, 2012 - 5:46PM

    Bullying and intimidation of the media and all journalist organisations are dead quiet over this. No cries of ” azadi-e-sahafat’ par hamla kia hai” , if this was any other party all the news anchors,columnists,bloggers and journalist organisations would have been protesting and holding rallies in favor of kashif.

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  • Ali Raza
    Apr 25, 2012 - 5:51PM

    Harassment and threatening of media people is an old tactic. What is disappointing to see is that no one from the sahafi baradari has the courage to speak up for kashif when he needs them the most. All the anchors and reporters are too scared to speak up for kashif.
    It remains to be seen if kashif will survive this or not.

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  • Shahid Alam
    Apr 25, 2012 - 5:56PM

    Why is the twitterati silent over this? They are always protesting and screaming whenever any
    politician does anything but due to the party involved now,everyone has gone silent. No outrage on the facebook and twitter now. It’s much easier and safer to critcise other political parties.

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  • Muhammad Adnan
    Apr 25, 2012 - 6:00PM

    Now the media people in islamabad will understand in what conditions the media in karachi has to work. It is very easy to do journalism in lahore,islamabad.

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  • Lobster
    Apr 25, 2012 - 7:10PM

    MQM is only party who threatens cable operators to shut down channel or show only Altaf bhai speeches

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  • Realist
    Apr 25, 2012 - 7:39PM

    Good. An excellent legal approach to shut up that lying journalist.

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  • Ash
    Apr 25, 2012 - 8:11PM

    Excellent decision! I think these good-for-nothing journalists have crossed their limits now. They must be checked.

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  • Hasan Awan
    Apr 25, 2012 - 9:02PM

    MQM anti Punjabi stance is well known as anyone from Upper Punjab is virtually the enemy of MQM, ANP and PPP and that is what happened here as well.

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  • Amjad
    Apr 25, 2012 - 9:07PM

    @ Beatle ::

    Incase of PTI its only the SUPPORTERS not the officials.. and that is exactly the difference.. PTI as a party doesn’t cry like the other parties ..every party’s officials cry whereas i agree with you to some extent abot PTI, but its their supporters not their their officials.. only supporters cry over tv jalsa coverage.. not the officials.. the supporters cry when their officials image is damaged by some host.. u won’t see the officials doing any thing like this..

    PMLN officials uses column against hosts.. PTI doesnt.. PPP uses columnists against the media hosts PTI doesnt… MQM uses guns and now the courts… PTI doesnt…

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  • Aamer Khawaja
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:20PM

    Waseem Akthar reacted normaly, i.e. the way MQM ‘normaly’ reacts.

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  • Apr 25, 2012 - 10:38PM

    absolutely biased reporting by tribune, why didn’t they take Kashif Abbasi’s take on the issue……super biased tribune…..It should be called MQM Tribune rather than Express Tribune

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  • Nabeel Khan
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:52PM

    i just dnt understand y few folks ths law suit as an offend or threat, i mean comon, this is the most appropriate way to answer the accusations, wat MQM has done wrong ??? they jst went to free judiciary to seek justice. If Kashif Abbasi is innocent, he will expose MQM & its leader in the court, bt id he fails, now wat ?? don’t u think there are many anchors working on particular agenda, nobody is balanced here, after all he is one of us :P so plz tak this act as a legal & democratic act. Thanx & Regards 

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  • Human Being
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:56PM

    MQM is still living in its past. Good old days when they were toadies of Musharraf, they have badly failed in understanding the new realities. As the proceedings will move ahead they will be exposed and they are mistaken that media don’t have stuff about them. All of these people reaching from slums to DHA are also monitored. Who don’t know about their estates in UK and Canada? I think it is a good move and ultimately MQM will regret it. Recommend

  • Ashar
    Apr 25, 2012 - 11:15PM

    Niether there is any Hussain Shaheed Suharwardi with us any more nor any Sardar Ali Sabri, degeneration has affected us all.

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  • Apr 26, 2012 - 12:16AM

    “Ideology of Altaf Hussein”

    What ideology?

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  • Apr 26, 2012 - 1:48AM

    good move by mqm. instead of using violence , they go through the legal way.

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  • Hasan
    Apr 26, 2012 - 6:11AM

    Another first from MQM. I fully support this move but doubt judiciary will take any serious action and dump the case for years as they are too busy to fix PPP.

    Freedom of press and electronic media must be ensured and respected in the democratic country but media persons and anchors shall not exploit this freedom to malign politicians without concreat evidence/prove..

    Some anchors are behaving like uncontrolled bulls, jack of all trades but master of none, and exploiting free air time to tarnish any body’s reputation without solid back-up to fulfill their pay masters agenda.

    MQM move to check such people, must be apprecited.Recommend

  • aysha
    Apr 26, 2012 - 6:23AM

    @Muhammad Asad:
    why is it saddening, let the courts decide. that is how disputes are settled in civilized societies, hope there is some logical end to it, with results clear to public eye

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  • aysha
    Apr 26, 2012 - 6:27AM

    @Tahir:
    Why should it be simple for people to accuse political parties. Truth should prevail. the guilty be brought out in the open. If Mr. Nusrat Javed lost his job because of MQM, he should have taken the party to courts. why make allegations in the air and not follow them up. MQM setting precedence once again. thank you for making positive contribution in the political culture of the country

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  • aysha
    Apr 26, 2012 - 6:33AM

    @Ali Raza:
    What does Kashif Abbasi need support for?. All he is expected to do is to produce the evidence he has and demonstrate what he said on TV was not baseless but well supported by documents. why should there be involvement other journalist. i think this would lead to responsible journalism in Pakistan. MQM has made a good move, id they are wrong in their claim it should be made public. Truth must override all else

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  • mrs ahmed
    Apr 26, 2012 - 2:43PM

    @aysha:
    Congartulation !!!!!!!! your intellect and wisdom is remarkable , i wish more people think alike , and there is no reason the land of pure also becomes land of law and order

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  • Muhammad Rizwan Ali
    Apr 26, 2012 - 6:01PM

    Kashif Abbasi always react in very bad manner, some time shouts also, he is nobody to make the result of talk shows, he should only ask questions ,some time he laugh in very taunting way, he is no more fit for this job.ARY should release him immediately
    Waseem Akhter, mush sober, sincere, educated, welbehave person….

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  • MRF
    Apr 28, 2012 - 7:40PM

    Hamid Mir, Kashif Abbasi, Ansar Abbasi and Najam Shetti are the only few journalists today who have the guts to speak the truth especially when it comes to MQM .. Obviously they(MQM and its supporters) won’t agree with me and they don’t agree with the viewpoint of the above mentioned journalists either ..good to see that MQM has filed a lawsuit against Abbasi rather than threatening him of dire consequences .. that is how disputes should be settled . I appreciate that Recommend

  • SAAD
    May 11, 2012 - 11:01AM

    Great work by MQM…..yellow journalism should be stopped……media personnel should be showing some responsibility and talk with facts………

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