Legal redressal for defamation is a necessary evil, as Foreign Minister Dr. Ahmed Shaheed would tell you. He has on Sunday filed a civil lawsuit against Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) leader Umar Naseer to recover Rf. 57,898,477 from him for alleged defamation.
Such lawsuits are the downside of unfettered freedom of expression, which in recent years has caused irreparable damage to the reputations of respected public figures. Something had to be done about it. As Shaheed's lawyer Dr. Mohamed Jameel said, one hopes this case will set a legal precedence that would be a deterrent to anyone tempted to make unsubstantiated accusations against opponents. Miadhu Daily quotes Dr. Jameel as saying, "We have to make people who make such allegations answerable and accountable. There are certain limits and boundaries stipulated in the new Constitution for freedom of expression."
Explaining how the figure of 57,898,477 was calculated Jameel said the amount included his fees as well as reparation for damages to Shaheed and his family's reputation and his future career prospects. He said this is how such are calculations are made in other countries too.
Miadhu Daily reports that Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) in early March alleged that senior government officials, including foreign minister Dr. Shaheed, accepted US $ 2 million in bribes to recognize Kosovo independence. The bribe was allegedly from Behgjet Pacolli, the leader of New Kosovo Alliance (NKA).