The order was issued by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry when Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq rubbished the claim and said the government had no plans to remove the two top military officers.
The bench adjourned for two weeks the hearing on the petition filed by Advocate F.K. Butt.
The petitioner requested the court to issue a restraining order and stop the government from taking any step to remove or retire the two officers till the pendency of the case. The army chief will retire on Nov 29, 2013, while the ISI chief will complete his extended term on March 19 this year.
The petition was filed after the sudden removal of defence secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi on Jan 11 on allegations of gross misconduct and illegal action and for creating misunderstanding between state institutions.
During the proceedings, the attorney general drew the court’s attention to a recent statement of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani rejecting a perception that the government was planning to remove the two military officers and expressed surprise that the petitioner was unaware of the statement.
He said the court should not rely on media reports, adding that the petition was based on speculations and not on facts.
The court asked the AG to seek instructions from the authorities concerned and said it would be better if such a statement was submitted in writing.
It reminded observers of a similar case when the Supreme Court had on Oct 15, 2010, issued a blunt restraining order after a midnight dramatic and feverish event on the basis of a media claim that the government might reverse the March 16, 2009, notification of reinstating superior court judges.
At that time too the government was asked to submit written assurances and was warned that any attempt to remove judges would mean committing treason under Article 6 of the Constitution. But the government did not submit any written statement.
F.K. Butt has named President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and secretaries of the cabinet, establishment and defence as respondents.
“Being apprehensive of an ultimate verdict against them likely to arise from the ongoing investigation into the memo scandal, the respondents have allegedly launched a campaign to blackmail and harass the army chief and ISI DG through their public statements continuously appearing in print and electronic media,” the petitioner said.
He said the respondents could not be allowed to implement their political ambitious plan through premature removal or retirement of the army officers who had a lawful right to complete their extended tenure in the interest of national security and sovereignty of the country.
Assurance sought against removal of Kayani, Pasha. Reviewed by Sarah Peracha on 11:32:00 PM Rating: