A former deputy attorney general (DAG), Muhammad Khurshid Khan, who was recently removed from his office by the federal government, filed a defamation suit on Tuesday against President of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Yaseen Azad.
The DAG, most recently known for creating inter-faith harmony by polishing shoes of worshippers at different temples in India and Pakistan, and other South Asian countries, cut short his planned tour and returned home from seva (community service) on Tuesday.
Khan, in his legal notice, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, called upon Azad to tender an unconditional apology, to be published in national and international newspapers, and pay a sum of Rs100million within the next fifteen days.
The notice submitted through Khan’s counsel, Abdul Rauf Rohaila, further said, “in case of non-compliance, we have clear instructions from our client (Khan) to proceed against you in contempt of court of civil or criminal jurisdiction at your risk and cost.”
The notice went on to say that Azad’s action had led to hardships between the two neighbouring countries and that the SCBA president had not authority to target Khan.
The dispute between Khan and Azad blew up after Azad served Khan with a show-cause notice for allegedly defaming Pakistan by sweeping floors and polishing shoes of devotees at Sikh gurdwaras in India during a 200-member Pakistani delegation visit in March. However, the notice was never delivered to Khan following a strong criticism from liberal lawyers.
Addressing a press conference at Peshawar Press Club, Khan said he had never swept toilets at home but has been doing it at Sikh gurdwaras to help spread interfaith harmony and portray a soft image of the country and Pakhtuns in particular.
When asked about his de-notification, Khan said, “Not even a single reason has been mentioned. It just states, I am de-notified and am no longer a deputy attorney general from August 1.”
“Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir said the post of deputy attorney general is not permanent and is assigned for three years. This is false; it is the government’s privilege. There is no time limit,” Khan said, adding that he has been a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) loyalist since the ‘70s and would always remain a PPP jiyala.
Furthermore, Khan said he had been enjoying his newfound liberty and freedom after being de-notified, and would be fighting against corruption, referring to the Bilour brothers.
Earlier, Khan gave another reason for his sacking.
“I’ve been punished for my struggle against corruption and for challenging Dewaan-e-Khaas, a restaurant allegedly built on public property by Awami National Party activists,” Khan told The Express Tribune by phone from Kathmandu.
Khan claimed that an ANP activist had threatened him to withdraw his petition against the restaurant or else he would be fired. “Now, [after sacking] I’ve been released from the golden cage. I will continue to fight against corruption,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2012.