Zardari family threatens to sue Jang group over wedding report

Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Feb 5 (PTI) A US legal firm representingthe Bhutto-Zardari family has threatened to file a lawsuitseeking over USD 100 million in damages if Pakistan''s Jangmedia group does not apologise for a report about PresidentAsif Ali Zardari''s purported marriage to a doctor namedTanveer Zamani.

Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell, the legal firm in NewYork, served notice yesterday on the Jang group for publishinga libellous article about Zardari.

The notice was issued on behalf of Mark Siegel, thepublicist of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto, and theBhutto-Zardari family.

The notice said Zamani had confirmed to Siegel thatshe had "never met" Zardari.

The Jang group, which has been running a campaignagainst Zardari since last year, had reported extensively on arumour posted on several hitherto unheard of blogs andwebsites that the President had "secretly" married Zamani, aNew York-based physician and PPP activist.

"Unless such a retraction and apology is issuedimmediately, Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell LLP will initiatelegal action on behalf of the Bhutto-Zardari family for libel,malicious publication and intentional infliction of emotionaldistress in all jurisdictions where your newspaper hasassets," said the notice.

"This lawsuit will seek in excess of USD 100 million,which the Bhutto-Zardari family will donate to the victims ofthe 2010 floods in Pakistan," the notice said.

The notice said the news report about the purportedmarriage was a "complete lie that was fostered by an Internethoax that has been ongoing for several weeks".

"Publication of such a non-sourced fabrication was notonly reckless, it was malicious. President Zardari has nevermet Dr Zamani, and Dr Zamani has confirmed such to Mr Siegel,"the notice further said.

"By publishing such an outright lie, the Jang group,its publisher and author of this article have caused severeemotional distress to the Bhutto-Zardari family, especiallyPresident Zardari''s three children who are still mourning themurder of their mother," it added.

The notice warned that legal action will be taken bythe firm against the Jang group, its publisher and the authorof the article concerning Zardari unless "a retraction andapology are issued immediately".

There was no word on the development from the Janggroup though The News, the group''s English newspaper, posted adenial of the wedding by Zamani on its website.

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