Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani has initiated libel proceedings against a Pakistani newspaper over accusing him of being an Indian and American agent and wrongly claiming that he was a fugitive of Pakistan’s law.
Haqqani, who is currently living in the US as a scholar at The Hudson Institute, a top American think tank, is seeking damages to the tune of 15 billion Pakistani Rupees ($95 million).
In a legal notice to The Nation newspaper of Lahore and Islamabad, Haqqani lawyer Yasser Latif Hamdani demanded an immediate retraction and apology for articles attributed to a Russian writer.
Failing an apology, Haqqani’s lawyer would start legal proceedings not only in Pakistan but also in the UK and other jurisdictions where the newspaper’s online edition is read, seeking damages to the tune of Pakistani Rupees 15 billion ($95 million).
Although Pakistani courts seldom act in libel cases or take too long to decide them, several prominent Pakistanis have succeeded in winning large damages from British courts.
The articles defended the appointment of the new ISI chief, blamed Haqqani for criticising the ISI, and claimed that Haqqani had been “found guilty by a Pakistani court of authoring a memo in 2012 requesting American support against his homeland’s military”.
They also accused Haqqani, now a scholar at The Hudson Institute, a top American think tank, of advancing Indian interests, a practice common in Pakistani media to condemn critics of the Pakistani military establishment.
The legal notice said Haqqani “has always endeavoured lawfully and constitutionally to uphold democracy and civilian supremacy in Pakistan” and that contrary to propaganda he had not been found guilty of any crime in any court of law”.