Legal notices served to Salman Iqbal, Arshad Sharif, Assad Kharal

Islamabad: An official spokesperson said here Thursday that Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar has taken strong exception to the defamatory and slanderous telecasts/publications against him by ARY News through its Programme “News @ 3 with Maria Memon” aired on 16th April 2016.

The spokesman said that legal notices have been served on ARY CEO, Salman Iqbal, anchors Arshad Sharif and Assad Kharal for airing libelous content and alleging that Finance Minister, Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting with Panamian Deputy Minister for Economy, Ivan Zarak in Washington, without seeking any confirmation.

It may be added that the Finance Ministry’s spokesperson forthwith rebuffed reports about Panamian Deputy Minister, Ivan Zarak’s meeting with Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar but the ARY tirade against the Minister went unabated.

The spokesperson said the fact remains that the totally fictitious content of telecast/publications by ARY were meant to malign the Finance Minister and put to question his personal integrity and ruin the good name that he has earned during his prestigious career as a professional and a political figure, spanning over four decades. The programme violated provisions of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 and the Electronic Media (Programme and Advertisements) Code of Conduct 2015 by publishing and transmitting false and incorrect statements in an irresponsible manner.

The spokesperson said that legal notices on Mr. Salman Iqbal (ARY), Mr. Arshad Sharif and Mr. Asad Kharal have been served under section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002. The respondents have been called upon to publish apology in reputed Urdu and English dailies and also broadcast the same with prominence within fifteen days.

In addition, each of them also has been asked to pay a sum of rupees one billion each to the Finance Minister in damages failing which legal proceedings against them would be initiated.

Further, a complaint has also been registered with PEMRA under section 26(2) of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 against ARY channel, its CEO and the anchors named above for airing a slanderous and libelous programme about the Finance Minister, the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said that the Panamian Deputy Minister, Ivan Zarak’s denial of the report about meeting with Finance Minister and Panamian Government’s message of apology to Finance Minister over the incorrect statement given by their Deputy Minister, doubly confirms Finance Minister’s denial of ARY’s news telecast and more than that strengthens Finance Minister’s stance taken against ARY CEO and its anchors.

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