Lal Masjid probe: Adjutant General of Pakistan Army, Judge Advocate General made respondents


The adjutant General of Pakistan Army and the Judge Advocate General, the senior most law officer in the General Headquarters (GHQ), were made respondents in a petition filed in the Supreme Court (SC) about the ongoing judicial probe into the Lal Masjid incident.
The petition stated that the two officers were “duty bound to initiate legal proceedings under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 against any person who violates the discipline of the Pakistan Army and this Court may ask them if any such proceedings lie against any person in relation to his involvement in the Lal Masjid operation.”
The SC was informed that Justice Shahzado Sheikh was proceeding with his probe in clear violation of the jurisdiction of the high court under Article 199. It was pointed out that no high court could hear an application by or about any person who was a member of the armed forces of Pakistan or came under “any law related to those forces”.
The SC on December 4, by a full bench headed by the Chief Justice, appointed Justice Sheikh as a commission to “fix responsibility upon the personnel of the security agencies”. Petitioner Shahid Orakzai asserted that two members of the bench had never heard the case before and no formal request was made by any party for the issue of commission. It may be recalled that General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani was the Director General of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) when the Lal Masjid was besieged by troops for more than a fortnight.
The SC was asked to stay the probe and to constitute a new bench to hear the matters related to Lal Masjid operation. In this connection, attention was also drawn to the fact that Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was made dysfunctional twice by a general in 2007, and in the Asghar Khan case he had put “criminal liability” on two retired generals including a former Chief of Army Staff (COAS). Drawing attention to last month’s “antithetical statements” made by the COAS and the CJP, the petitioner said the personnel of the armed forces shall not be made liable for “any act or word of the COAS”.
The apex court was reminded that for the enforcement of the fundamental rights, its order should not prejudice the provision of Article 199 which had written a specific clause regarding the persons in the armed forces whom were barred from seeking any relief.