PAKISTAN GOVERNMENT DECIDES TO SUE BRITISH NEWSPAPER ‘THE SUN’
By Azhar Masood, Special for All Voices
ISLAMABAD.July.25.2012.Federal Cabinet of Pakistan ,which held its session today under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, decided to file a defamation suit against British Newspaper ‘the Sun “ for carrying a fabricated story about fake visas for the participants of Olympic games being held in United Kingdom.
“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 has been issuing bogus 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.
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.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, while speaking to media, said “a dirty propaganda was unleashed against Pakistan.”
Earlier the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had rounded up dozens of suspects involved or reportedly involved in this scam.
The Sun had claimed Pakistani officials were supplying forged passports and travel documents to London for the summer games.
One of the suspects is Nuzhar Sehba Naz, also known as Madame Bovary, who has been accused of receiving Rs300,000 from five people in exchange for promising visas for London.
A separate FIR registered by one Abdul Sattar maintains Naz placed an advertisement in a newspaper claiming to provide the visas. FIA officials said seven cases have already been registered against her on different charges of human trafficking.
The FIA has also arrested 11 other suspects believed to be involved in the visa scandal reportedly orchestrated by Lahore-based politician Abid Chaudhry. These are officials of NADRA and the Passport Office, Garden Town, Lahore.
The arrested passport office officials include Deputy Director Muhammad Iqbal Shahid and three others — Muhammad Faheem, Ghaffar Ali and Aslam James.
While the arrested NADRA officials include Asif Sadiq and Syed Wasif Shah and five other female officials Rozeena Majeed, Rukhsana Maqbool, Sumera Tabassam, Uzma Khalil and Qudsia Idrees.
The female officials from NADRA have, however, been released on personal surety bonds. They will still appear before FIA investigators on Wednesday (today).
Meanwhile, the FIA has constituted several teams to carry out further raids and more arrests are expected. Some of the other suspects in the case include alleged mastermind Abid Chaudhry, proprietor of Dream Land Travel Agency Malik Bashir and his employees Bobby and Mubashir Tirmizi.
The case has been registered on the written directives of the principal adviser to the prime minister. A letter sent to the FIA said all those involved in issuing forged passports and travel documents in Lahore should be arrested immediately and a comprehensive report submitted consequently.
The FIA and intelligence agencies have also sought the travel records of Stephen Moyes, the British journalist who broke the story.
The intelligence agencies have gathered some information regarding the people Moyes met in Pakistan and the UK before and after the story was published, sources said. These agencies believe “foreign elements” are at work to defame Pakistan.
The FIA has asked the Pakistan Hockey Federation and other relevant organisations to submit the list of players and officials who will lead the Olympic delegation.
The Sun claims 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.
The tabloid adds that Lahore-based politician Abid Chaudhry was bypassing stringent security checks to smuggle people to London under the garb of Pakistani officials in exchange for a payment of one million rupees – an option also offered to The Sun’s undercover reporter.
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 ministry has sought a full profile of Abid Chaudhry while the FIA is busy tracing those officials who let the documents made under the name of Muhammad Ali get attested without any objections.
The said CNIC was delivered on July 10 while the passport which was applied for on July 13 was delivered on July 19.