Monday, August 20, 2007

Military Justice

From today’s proceedings in the Supreme Court in the Missing Persons case, it appears that a person sentenced to eight years imprisonment under Field General Court Martial (FGCM) on spying charges, was in fact only guilty of having an affair with a female relation of an ISI Brigadier.

Imran Munir, 35, has been missing since July 8, 2006. According to family members, he was invited by Brig Mansoor Sheikh of the ISI for a dinner in the Blue Area of Islamabad. He has been missing ever since that night.

Munir, a dentist by profession, was apparently settled in Malaysia and was already married. He had been on visit to Pakistan and had been here only a fortnight prior to his disappearance.

The redoubtable Asma Jehangir is on record for having told the Supreme Court that:

.. the Ministry of Defence has denied having any knowledge about Imran Munir before the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench. And now [in the Supreme Court]they say that he is a spy. In fact Imran had an affair with a girl related to an ISI official and he is now levelling personal grudges against Imran.

Today the Attorney General announced that Munir’s conviction has been set aside and a retrial has been ordered.

It appears that wonders will never cease!

Luckily for the ordinary citizens of Pakistan the Supreme Court appears to be in an unforgiving mood. Today the court threatened to imprison the Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA),Tariq Pervez, unless he produced the missing Abdul Basit - whom Pervez had arrested in January 30 2004 - within the next twenty-four hours.

As Aaj Television reported:
The Supreme Court on Monday gave one day dead line to Director General FIA to produce a missing person of Faisalabad after knowing that he was in the custody of Military intelligence and was picked up on his orders.

Earlier the court was informed that the then Additional Inspector General Police and Present Director General of FIA Tariq Pervez directed Faisalabad Police to arrest Hafiz Basit and ordered him to hand over to an officer of Military Intelligence at Pindi Bhattian interchange of Lahore-Islamabad Motorway.

A four-member bench of the court comprising the Chief Justice Mr.Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Mr.Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar Mr. Justice Nasir-Ul-Mulk and Mr. Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed directed the DG FIA to produce the man in the court on Tuesday otherwise he will be put behind the bars.

The Attorney General (AG) for Pakistan requested the court to give him some time so that he can contact the authorities concerned.

“I am new in the office and don’t know how to contact the key persons”, the AG said.

“This is very simple case that police had handed over the custody to Army…its not our job to run after constables”, the Chief Justice said.

There must be a few military moustaches being twirled tonight in angry frustration.

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