Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan says the army has become a “land grabber group.” His remarks came Wednesday during the hearing of three petitions against the Defense Housing Authority (DHA) Lahore.

The Chief Justice directed DHA Administrator Brigadier Waheed Gul Satti to appear before the court along with the record of LHC’s 50-kanal land in possession of the armed forces.

According to BBC Urdu, Chief Justice Khan asked the DHA attorney to tell Brigadier Satti to appear before the court without his stars and cap because if the land grabbing case against the DHA was proven, he would be handcuffed and sent to jail.

The Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court remarked that the army had become the largest occupation group. The army has occupied 50 kanals of land of Lahore High Court.

“All this is being done only because the military has been in power for a long time and has been legislating on its own,” he said adding that if those in uniform commit crimes, they cannot escape.

Justice Khan said that there was no way to fill four or five vehicles of soldiers and go to seize them. According to him, “If a person in uniform commits a crime, it is also a crime, whether it is a military uniform or a police uniform.”

Chief Justice Qasim Khan’s scathing remarks against Pakistan’s powerful army came as the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on Wednesday decided not to proceed further against the anti-Army Justice Qazi Faez Isa, to conduct an inquiry into three UK properties in the name of his wife and children.

In February 2019, Justice Qazi Faez Isa along with Justice Mushir Alam gave a judgment in a suo moto case regarding a sit-in protest in 2017 when Tehreek-e Labaik Pakistan (TLP) had paralyzed the capital, Islamabad and the neighboring city of Rawalpindi for weeks.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa is scheduled to take over as Chief Justice of Pakistan in September 2023 while Justice Mushir Alam is retiring in August this year.

“The involvement of ISI and of the members of the Armed Forces in politics, media and other ‘unlawful activities’ should have stopped,” the Supreme Court bench, which comprised Qazi Faez Isa along with Justice Mushir Alam said in the February verdict.

“The constitution emphatically prohibits members of the armed forces from engaging in any kind of political activity, which includes supporting a political party, faction, or individual,” the ruling said. “The government of Pakistan through the Defense Ministry and respective chiefs of the army, the navy, and the air force are directed to initiate action against the personnel under their command who are found to have violated their oath.”

It was a reference to Punjab Rangers director General Major General Azhar Naveed and then head of internal security section of ISI, Major General Faiz Hamid, in negotiating with the cleric to end the Faizabad protest led by Tehreek-e-Labaik’s that paralysed the capital Islamabad in 2017 .

It wasn’t a first for Justice Isa. In 2016, an inquiry commission headed by Justice Isa to investigate a terrorist attack on a hospital in Quetta that killed dozens of lawyers, had severely criticized security agencies.

Pakistan bans TLP for engaging in terrorism

Tellingly, on April 15 Tehreek-e-Labbaik was banned for engaging in terrorism, acting in a manner prejudicial to the peace and security of the country and involved in creating anarchy in the country by intimidating the public.

The ban came three days after TLP supporters took to the streets across Pakistan following the arrest of leader Saad Hussain Rizvi.

According to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said two policemen were killed and another 580 people were wounded during attacks by TLP mobs in several cities.

Chief Justice Khan refuses to retract his remarks against armed forces

Interestingly, Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan Thursday did not pay heed to the request of Defense Housing Authority (DHA) to get expunged the remarks he had passed against the armed forces on Wednesday.

The DHA’s counsel, Altafur Rehman Khan said that his remarks earned a bad image in the society and the court is humbly requested to expunge the remarks.

The Chief Justice of Lahore High Court said that his remarks were against the conduct of those armed forces’ officers who are not earning a good name for their institution.

“Respect is earned through conduct and the conduct should be very good for the sake of maintaining the respect of the institution from which the people belonged,” the CJ Khan remarked.

He said that individual’s acts earned a bad name for the whole institution.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofmaerica.net) email: asghazali2011@gamil.com


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