A capital court on Monday dismissed former defence secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Tariq Naeem Lodhi’s petition challenging his removal by the government early this year.
Justice Azim Khan Afridi of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in his order observed that Gen Lodhi was a contractual employee and he could have been dismissed by the competent authority at one month’s notice.
Earlier the petitioner’s counsel F.K. Butt requested the court not to announce the verdict as his client was negotiating a compromise with the government.
Justice Afridi asked government’s standing counsel Shabbir Abbasi to confirm the development with the government and inform the court after the break.
The counsel informed the court that the government was not holding any negotiations and the court may decide the issue on merit.
On May 25, the court had reserved its judgment after opposing counsels had completed their arguments.
Deputy Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Jehangiri maintained that since the government has appointed Gen Lodhi as the head of the Fauji Fertilizer Company for three years, there was no need to reinstate him.
Earlier, in his concluding arguments, the petitioner’s lawyer said that his client had been appointed as defence secretary for a period of two years. However, the prime minister had dismissed him from service, without issuing any charge sheet or show-cause notice.
He had argued that the termination of his client’s contract was in violation of the fundamental rights enshrined in articles 4, 14 and 25 of the constitution and requested the court to set aside the termination notification and restore him to the post of defence secretary till the final decision on his petition.
The counsel said the sudden termination had also adversely affected his client’s reputation.
The retired general had moved the court on January 17, after he was removed from his post by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on charges of ‘gross misconduct’.
He had said before the Supreme Court that the government did not have operational control over the army and its intelligence agencies during hearing of the Memogate case, which resulted in his dismissal.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2012.