Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar said on Thursday he had served a legal notice to PML-N leader Uzma Bukhari for “pass(ing) defamatory statements and rais(ing) false and absurd imputations” against him in a television show.
According to the notice dated January 13, which Akbar posted on Twitter, Bukhari had appeared on a show called Faisla Ap Ka aired on Aaj TV on Wednesday night where she passed “completely untrue and libelous defamatory statements” accusing the premier’s adviser of demanding a kickback from Broadsheet LLC owner Kaveh Moussavi.
Bukhari was referring to a recent interview of Moussavi where he accused PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif of offering him a bribe in 2012 to drop a corruption probe against him.
“Moussavi said Shahzad Akbar along with another person came to him (Moussavi) and [both] were asking for their cut,” the notice quoted Bukhari as saying. “This is a very important thing. They asked for a cut for themselves, not the government. They said ‘what will [you] give us? We will extend your contract’. This is a very big allegation […] for a government office-bearer who is with the government.
“Shahzad Akbar’s history of taking and giving briefcase is old […] and this is not an allegation.”
In a recent interview, a full recording of which is available with Dawn, Moussavi had alleged that an individual who he had met with Akbar in 2018 regarding a $1 billion bank account was more interested in getting his cut than in investigating suspects. The Broadsheet owner added, however, that Akbar may not have been aware of this individual’s question about a commission.
Denying this in a statement to Dawn, Akbar clarified that he met Moussavi in 2019 twice and not in 2018. He said the context of his meetings was to negotiate the award price and to reduce the payable amount. According to Akbar, in the interview Moussavi may be referring to someone he met separately,
In the notice served to Bukhari yesterday, Akbar insisted he had been a “target of hateful media campaigns from members of the PML-N and other opposition parties” which are run in order to “discourage him from the pro-active role he is playing in curbing corruption and ensuring accountability”.
The notice said Moussavi had “stated at many occasions that [Akbar] is a man of integrity”. It added that Bukhari had levelled the allegations against Akbar in order to “sabotage the anti-corruption drive” and mislead the public.
The PM’s adviser also rejected Bukhari’s accusation that he “misappropriates public funds […] and is involved in the offence of accepting and giving bribes”. The notice also stated that Akbar had never been the prosecutor general of the National Accountability Bureau as claimed by Bukhari.
Akbar demanded Bukhari to retract her statements and issue an apology or pay Rs500 million in damages. In a tweet, Akbar said money collected in damages would go to charities.
Yesterday, the PM’s adviser had also served a notice to PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb for similar statements in a press talk. In a tweet, Akbar said Aurangzeb “has been asked to apologise or she will be taken to court”.