|Wednesday, September 25, 2013|
‘Sacked’ army chief moves court against removal
* LHC issues notice to Defence Ministry on Gen (r) Zia’s petition, seeking directions to declare his removal illegal
* Wants issuance of retirement benefits and release of all confiscated property
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Defence Ministry on a petition of former chief of army staff Gen (r) Ziauddin Butt, who sought declaration of his removal as COAS as illegal, issuance of his retirement benefits and release of all his confiscated property by the regime of former military dictator Pervez Musharraf.
The court directed the defence minister to file a reply to the petition by October 16. It also sought the assistance of a deputy attorney general to determine whether after 15 years of the event this petition could be heard or whether this court could take cognisance against the army. The petitioner’s counsel submitted that on October 12, 1999, Butt was appointed as COAS by then president Muhammad Rafique Tarar on the recommendation of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
He alleged that soon after his appointment in the Prime Minister’s House, the prime minister and the petitioner were surrounded by heavily armed troops of the 111 Brigade of the army in implementation of a conspiracy. He alleged that Lt Gen (r) Mehmud Ahmed and Major General Ali Jan Aurakzai threatened them at gunpoint to step down, but Nawaz Sharif refused to do so, after which they were taken into custody. He said that the petitioner was placed into solitary confinement, which lasted two years.
The counsel submitted that during the confinement the petitioner suffered many sufferings, including dismissal from service, forcible seizure of his properties, including those in private ownership, deprivation of right to receive pension. He said that all this was done to the petitioner for obedience of constitutional order passed by the then president, who appointed him to the constitutional post COAS. He alleged that Musharraf subjected the petitioner to all possible punishments in utter violation of the fundamental rights, without issuing a show-cause notice.