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Pak Attorney General slaps legal notice on HRW

Malik Qayyum has served a legal notice on a US-based rights watchdog as part of his plans to file a defamation suit against it for releasing a purported audio recording of him.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Islamabad
UPDATED ON FEB 17, 2008 09:44 PM IST

Pakistan's Attorney General Malik Qayyum on Sunday said he has served a legal notice on a US-based rights watchdog as part of his plans to file a defamation suit against it for releasing a purported audio recording of him saying that Monday's election would be "rigged".

The claim by the Human Right Watch (HRW) is "extremely malicious, defamatory, manufactured and baseless", Qayyum told reporters here.

Qayyum also demanded the immediate removal of the recording from HRW's website, a public apology and Rs 300 million as damages for defamation.

HRW had last week released an audio recording that allegedly featured Qayyum saying that the parliamentary polls would be "massively rigged".

The recording purportedly featured Qayyum advising an unidentified person on which political party he should approach to become a candidate in the election.
But Qayyum said the alleged conversation was "fabricated and part of a conspiracy" against him. He said he had the right to take legal action against those who issued the recording and all the persons who propagated it.

He said he had no involvement in the holding of polls and that he only assisted the government in legal affairs.
The Election Commission, being an independent body, would ensure the holding of free, fair and transparent polls, he said.

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