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|The Islamabad High Court|
The Islamabad High Court has issued notices to the president, prime minister, cabinet secretary, establishment secretary and the acting defence secretary on a petition filed by sacked defence secretary Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Naeem Lodhi. Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan while hearing the petition on Wednesday observed that the case could not proceed until the respondents filed their replies. Lodhi had moved the court on Tuesday against his dismissal as defence secretary by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on charges of ‘gross misconduct’, and requested the court to set aside the notification of his removal.
The former secretary argued in the petition that he had not been served any charge sheet or a show-cause notice for his alleged misconduct, and added that no inquiry was held against him before the termination of his contract. Lashing out at the government, Lodhi said his removal had taken place to clear the way for the respondents to take illegal steps in arbitrarily removing the chief of army staff and the director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence to fulfill a ‘political agenda’ and ‘ruin the country’.
Lodhi added that the termination of the contract was a violation of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. He further accused the respondents of pressurising him to sign an affidavit on the Memogate scandal. According to the former secretary, the document was prepared by government functionaries and was in complete conflict with what he referred to as the ‘factual position’ narrated by the COAS and the DG ISI in their written statements submitted to the Supreme Court.
The court adjourned the hearing of the case till the second week of February. Lodhi was removed from the post of defence secretary by Prime Minister Gilani on January 11, following which former establishment secretary Nargis Sethi was given the additional charge of defence secretary. Earlier, in his reply to the Supreme Court in the Memogate case, Lodhi had said that the government did not have ‘operational control’ over the army and its intelligence arm, the ISI.
Pakistan Cyber Force