LAHORE: The Chief Executive Officer of Dawn, Hameed Haroon, on Monday sent a defamation notice to Jamshed ‘Jami’ Mahmood seeking an “unconditional public apology” and the retraction of allegations that the former raped the latter.
The two have been involved in a public dispute since Mahmood recently posted a statement on Twitter saying that Haroon raped him. The accusation followed an earlier statement, issued in October last year, in which Jami had spoken about being raped by a ‘media tycoon’.
Jami has said he has received the notice and is in the process of perusing it, according to Dawn.com, which spoke to the filmmaker.
“He added, however, that an apology was ‘not even a distant possibility’,” Dawn.com reported.
“There is a lot that needs to be done for victims of sexual harassment and for future victims,” Jami was quoted as saying.
Jami told the publication that he has already covered most of the points raised in the defamation notice in previous statements issued on social media.
Contents of the notice
“[…] Almost two months after circulating your first tweet on being allegedly raped, and strangely and abruptly travelling outside Pakistan, on December 28, 2019 on the social media platform Twitter, you falsely and maliciously labelled our client as an alleged rapist,” the notice states, according to Dawn.com.
“Since then, you have been continuing to circulate this false allegation all over Pakistan, including Karachi and abroad. Our client categorically denies that he has ever perpetrated sexual assault on anyone and categorically denies that he has raped you.”
The notice repeats earlier accusations levelled by Haroon against Jami, including that the filmmaker is ‘defaming’ Haroon at the behest of powerful interests in the state who wish to “destroy [Haroon’s] credibility, especially his credibility as a leading advocate of the freedom of press.”
According the Haroon’s legal team, Jami issued “a false statement […] to injure the reputation” of their client.
It says that Jami wanted to subject Haroon to “ridicule, unjust criticism, dislike, contempt and hatred and to target the freedom of the press”.
It should be mentioned that Jami has previously stated that he was summoned and assured of support if he went public with his allegations. He, however, claimed he had turned down the ‘offer’, saying his fight was not with Dawn as an institution, but with the person who assaulted him.
Jami has been told to issue an “unconditional public apology” as well as a retraction of his rape allegation “from all social media posts and other media outlets within 14 days of the receipt of this notice,” according to Dawn.com.
He has been warned of criminal legal proceedings under Section 499 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, and the Defamation Ordinance, 2002 in case he does not comply.