Olympics passport scam: Govt asks NADRA to sue The Sun for defamation

Published: July 25, 2012
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Lawsuit to be filed will be for Rs10 billion in damages. DESIGN: JAHANZAIB HAQUE

Lawsuit to be filed will be for Rs10 billion in damages. DESIGN: JAHANZAIB HAQUE

ISLAMABAD: The government, on Wednesday, decided to  register a case against British tabloid The Sun in British courts, calling its Olympics passport scam report “false propaganda.”

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, while speaking to media, said “a dirty propaganda was unleashed against Pakistan.”

“The cabinet ordered the Nadra to file a defamation suit (against the paper) after consulting the law ministry,” Kaira added

He also took a swipe at the paper, saying it “does not have a good reputation”.

According to sources, the lawsuit to be filed will be for Rs10 billion in damages.

The cabinet also ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to halt investigations pertaining to Olympics visa scam cases in light of its recent decision to file a lawsuit against the aforementioned tabloid.

The decision for filing the lawsuit was taken after NADRA Chairman Muhammad Tariq Malik briefed the cabinet.

Details will be given in the cabinet briefing.

Earlier, The Sun had claimed to have broken into a crime ring which was issuing fake passports and visas, giving potential terrorists a chance to sneak into Britain along with Pakistan’s Olympic delegation.

Lahore-based politician Abid Chaudhry was accused by the tabloid for bypassing stringent security checks to smuggle people to London under the garb of Pakistani officials in exchange for a payment of Rs1 million.

A script submitted by the interior ministry mentions an instance in which a computerised NIC and passport were issued from Nadra and the passport office, Lahore, to a person with fake particulars of Muhammad Ali.

The government was conducting investigations in the matter, including seeking the full profile of Abid Chaudhry whereas the FIA and other agencies were conducting their own investigations.

The FIA had also arrested 11 suspects in relation to the scams believed to be carried out by Chaudhry and other officials.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Pakistanian
    Jul 25, 2012 - 2:54PM

    Thanks for being so ‘proactive'(!)

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  • Thoughtful
    Jul 25, 2012 - 2:55PM

    Register a case where? In UK courts? That will be very very interesting.

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  • Pakistani
    Jul 25, 2012 - 3:02PM

    This Govt is composed of members who know nothing about self-respect. Now they are playing with whatever little respect our country was left with.

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  • Caramelized_Onion
    Jul 25, 2012 - 3:05PM

    Admit it, the officials were caught red handed. Don’t do another Salman Butt on us.

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  • saeed
    Jul 25, 2012 - 3:09PM

    At last after 4 and half years..after so many humiliating and embarrassing things that has happened in this PPP government to Pakistan and Pakistanis around the world..the government has shows some logic..that is all because of the hue and cry of people on social media and general public..it was like any one in the world can come up with any story and blame Pakistan..and what our government was doing is to just listen and keep quite..I hope they dont stop and sue this paper,,who only for the sake of its popularity created this hoax out of no where..How can a fake passport guarantee a British visa..can some one explain it to me..Visa was to be issues by Britain no Pakistan..We all know that fake ID cards and passports are made in Pakistan ( which is another failure of this corrupt mafia)..it does not mean the VISA also..if that was that much easy then any one can fly to any country from Pakistan..cheap stunt by biased media..

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  • Haider
    Jul 25, 2012 - 3:12PM

    Nothing will happen! Trust me.. our cabinet has not that much of courage!

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  • Random
    Jul 25, 2012 - 3:18PM

    Isnt it contradictory
    – A passport with fake particulars was issued
    – FIA has arrested some suspects in relation to the person mentioned in the Sun report.

    Yet are more than accomplished leadership thinks that there is nothing under carpet here?Recommend

  • White Russian
    Jul 25, 2012 - 3:28PM

    If it is all propaganda, then FIA is investigating what? And why all these arrests?

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jul 25, 2012 - 3:28PM

    Why such stories/propoganda is only published against Pakistan?

    Is Pakistan such a bad country on the world map?

    Conspiricy Theories goes all around the world, but the Western Countries have made it a point to malign Pakistan and do not leave any stone underturned to defame Pakistan at all costs.

    PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

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  • Mj
    Jul 25, 2012 - 3:35PM

    Why were the arrests made if the report is false? You don’t arrest someone for non-violent crimes without investigation.

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  • Khan
    Jul 25, 2012 - 3:42PM

    Seriously? So much evidence and still this naivety. No wonder where we stand today.

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  • mr. righty rightist
    Jul 25, 2012 - 3:57PM

    Why is the FEDERAL CABINET not suing THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT?

    Indian government has, on several occasion, accused the involvement of ISI in Mumbai attacks. So, why is the Pakistani government silent on that? Why is the Pakistani government not suing Indian government?

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  • Selvam
    Jul 25, 2012 - 4:03PM

    Not clever, the Pakistani government will lose this case and around election time will get a lot of negative publicity when the UK courts pronounce verdict. Political opponents should rejoice.
    (or in short, shooting oneself in the foot)

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  • Nono
    Jul 25, 2012 - 4:10PM

    Another gift of the democratically elected government. They want to sue the Sun to distract us from the facts, becoz of the elections nearing. The writing is on the wall. SC should place all the Ministers on the ECL before the elections.

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  • Alif
    Jul 25, 2012 - 4:13PM

    Have they gone mad, When the officials are caught red handed, On what basis they’ll file the lawsuit against the news paper?

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  • Polpot
    Jul 25, 2012 - 4:14PM

    The only problem is
    +++++++++++++++++
    That while one can win a legal case one can also lose it.

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  • Much Amused
    Jul 25, 2012 - 4:17PM

    Which country are they thinking of suing the tabloid? In UK they will face proper courts and evidence will need to be produced by both sides. I think the Pakistanis will goof up on this count as they will realise that they have been taken for a ride by their own politicians and vested interests, as usual. Give up this false bravado and pursue the allegation properly in Pakistan.

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  • Mohammad
    Jul 25, 2012 - 4:25PM

    If it was all fake, government should give tough time to TheSun and apologies the arrested employees and provide them compensation. It really hurt for overseas Pakistanis when a scandal broke out like this, we are already suspected and not given visa for any country and with these kind of incidents, it will be more annoying to travel around.

    And if Government of Pakistan is lying, then we should immediately try to replace the government, or the passport.

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  • AV Bhagowal
    Jul 25, 2012 - 4:47PM

    The proposed pursuit of a legal case in London would open a Pandora’s box and may entail many hardships for our citizens seeking legal visas, besides attracting undue public involvement and friction.It should be diplomatically resolved and the UK government be told that issue of fake passports and visas is not confined only to Pakistan but is prevalent all over the world.It is a criminal activity and can be handled by the state concerned.Making it a Government issue would point to the suspicion that there is something amiss in the Government ( which may be true to some extent but is there any bureaucracy in the world which is transparent enough to throw up all cases of misdemeanor?) Let the law take its course and punish the culprits and at the same time we should try to reduce ( elimination is somewhat too idealistic) the incidence of corruption in all offices.

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  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Jul 25, 2012 - 4:51PM

    Yeh man; the the Attorny General to UK so all cases (NRO,Contempt, etc) in Supreme Court gets adjourned

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  • jibran
    Jul 25, 2012 - 4:57PM

    @saeed:
    How could you pin the forgery of passports allegedly done by a local politician in the heart of Punjab on the federal government. It just beats me. Next time if Shah-e-Aala, Punjab, does corruption again, or anjum aqeel absconds, or someone uses stolen credit cards, would you keep on blaming Zardari.Recommend

  • shah
    Jul 25, 2012 - 5:01PM

    right investigation is that arrest the wrong man and investigate him regarding this case. everything will be clear

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  • Natalie
    Jul 25, 2012 - 5:05PM

    Yes, go on and make fools of yourselves, corrupt Pakistani politicians. If you came to the UK to fight a court battle, rest assured that more dirt will come out of your pants than what is known so far. Journalists here are hard hitting and the media is determined to get a story. Btw, I found an interesting sentence in the story: that “the cabinet also ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to halt investigations pertaining to Olympics visa scam cases in light of its recent decision to file a lawsuit against the aforementioned tabloid”. Apparently, the cabinet does not want the FIA to dig so deep as to open up a can of worms related or connected to politicians! Recommend

  • Arsie
    Jul 25, 2012 - 5:29PM

    There’s something seriously wrong with our social media activists. You guys are ready to believe a third class low standard cheap newspaper but not your people or govt. Nadra is a well reputed organisation and if you’re Pakistani n you have gone through the process of applying for nic then you will agree it’s next to impossible to make a fake I’d/passport. The irony is that most of the commentators above are overseas Pakistanis who sadly are loyal to their own interests only not to their former country. In Pakistan, arrests are made before indictment for preliminary investigations so don’t look too much into it. This is how investigation is conducted in Pakistan. Have you OP’s ever done anything good for Pakistan. You guys do send remittances to Pakistan but you send it to your relatives not the govt. Recommend

  • smj
    Jul 25, 2012 - 5:42PM

    Where are all the runners?
    They ran away :)

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  • Khan
    Jul 25, 2012 - 5:50PM

    @Arsie:

    Nadra is a well reputed organisation and if you’re Pakistani n you have gone through the process of applying for nic then you will agree it’s next to impossible to make a fake I’d/passport

    Do you really live in another planet? I have seen Afghan refugees making passports & CNIC for few hundred thousand rs .. Please be my guest in Peshawar and I’ll show you thousands of houses in posh areas and businesses owned by them. FYI, you can’t buy any property without these documents.

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  • Amjad
    Jul 25, 2012 - 6:06PM

    What the ehell ?? sue the sun for defamation !! On one hand you are going legal against the newspaper and on the other hand you got 11 or 12 people arrested by FIA and claimed that they were all involved in the scam? what hypocrisy …

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  • Junaid
    Jul 25, 2012 - 6:18PM

    @Arsie:
    I think you never visited NADRA..maybe you are still under 18 and is fed optimism by the federal TV channel. My friend anyone can get a Pakistani passport/ID, you just need to bribe big!!

    I agree with @saeed that this is propaganda against Pakistan since UK visa is not issued by Pakistani authorities. An extremist enters UK because he has UK visa not because of a Pakistani passport. Sue The Sun !!

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  • saeed
    Jul 25, 2012 - 6:40PM

    @Jibran…Federal or provisional both are corrupt..incompetent..its fault of both the governments…its the fault of the system..the system which helps these parties to gain power and use it for there corruption…Vote for PTI to change the system..other wise just keep listening to these things and get embarrassedd..

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  • Nasir
    Jul 25, 2012 - 6:47PM

    we need money. Thank you SUN for providing us chance.

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  • allaisa
    Jul 25, 2012 - 6:57PM

    @Nasir:
    To get money you need money. Do you know how much it will cost in legal fees to bring this case in UK courts? At the end it will end at the most with an apology published in page 3 of SUN (next to naked lady)

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  • mohsin
    Jul 25, 2012 - 7:06PM

    FIA investigation is halted to save government from further embarrassment. right?

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  • Pro Paki
    Jul 25, 2012 - 7:07PM

    Well this fake passport stuff goes around the world so why drag Pakistan into it and I have gotta agree NADRA is the only organization that is working with honesty and full commitment compared to other useless organisations and they have a good system of tracking down and infiltrating identities which one must appreciate. And by the way for those who have developed hatred in Pakistan I must tell it was (now defunctioned) NEWS OF THE WORLD not SUN that published spot fixing story. SUN had published a fake match fixing story of Pak vs Eng 3rd ODI on 2010 tour and that thing was investigated by authorities and that story turned out to be false.

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  • 1984
    Jul 25, 2012 - 7:13PM

    Wow,the common man is totally puzzled whom to believe??

    The cheap tabloid which is known for publishing contents relating to sleaze in the main page and someone I will never forgive for mocking the Hillsborough incident

    Or

    the pakistani establishment

    I might go for the former

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  • Truth Bites
    Jul 25, 2012 - 7:43PM

    There are two issues here, fake passports and olympic visa scam for terrorists.

    Sun said they got the fake passport! – this can be true for any country in the world and official are arrested and under investigation. (even in UK before the interviews started few years back for passports, anyone with copy of a birth certificate of some one even a dead person apply for passport by post was able to get it without much hassle. NB UK doesnt have ID cards)

    Sun saying terrorist can be slipped as olympic squad – now that is pure spicing up and try to mlagin Pakistan – Pakistan can sue them for defamation on this.

    Visa scams for games are done all around the world, Pakistan is not single country where gangs use events to lure people to pay them for fake visas.

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  • kanwal
    Jul 25, 2012 - 9:45PM

    Yawn! What’s up next. Im hungry n sleepy n a bit tired too. Oh btw happy ramadan ;)

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  • Arsie
    Jul 25, 2012 - 10:07PM

    @Junaid I have more knowledge on nadra than anyone on this thread n I have experienced corrupt govt officials more than you can imagine. Im telling you with first hand knowledge that Nadra has one of the brightest, honest n competent officers in the country n their system n security is regarded as one of the best in the world. Way beyond the level of these OP’s who are always complaining n finding faults in the country.

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  • Marsie
    Jul 26, 2012 - 11:43AM

    @Arsie
    you did not answer his concerns. How did thousands of Afghanis managed to get a Pakistani ID card?

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