SC approached against inviting foreigners at parades

Asks if army takes NOC from civilian authorities before extending such invitations

Hasnaat Malik June 10, 2018
Armed forces personnel take part in the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Citing violation of procedures and traditions, a former military officer has approached the Supreme Court against the military authorities for inviting foreign dignitaries as chief guests at passing out parade of military academies without seeking NOC from civilian authorities.

Inam-ul-Rahiem has filed a petition, asking if the military could communicate and invite any foreigner without getting express permission from the federal government and without following the mandatory procedure laid down by the foreign office and if they had committed any offence by doing so.

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Earlier, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) division bench while dismissing the same petition had noted that there is no violation of law in inviting a foreign dignity on the occasion of passing out parade of a military academy.

According to the petitioner, there is parliamentary democracy in Pakistan and according the tradition set by Father of the Nation, the president, premier or defence minister should be the chief guest of the auspicious ceremony instead of an alien to stand on a place once occupied by the Quaid-e-Azam.

“He was shocked when he came to know that recently on the passing out of 136th PMA Long Course, 36 Graduate Course, 29th Technical Graduate Course and 55th Integrated Course, the Chief Guest/ Reviewing Officer was a British General namely Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff of British Army, an alien, whereas till date even own Chief of General Staff (CGS) could not get opportunity to review the passing out parade of own army,” he stated.

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The petitioner said when he looked upon the conduct of present military leadership, he was totally disillusion and disappointed as they do not have any pride, commitment and knowledge of their history.

“As per the procedure, whenever any foreigner is invited by any institution of the country for any purpose, the clearance from Foreign Ministry is mandatory and since it was a major drift in the policy of ideological state of Pakistan which came into being in the name of Kalma Tayyaba, it was essential that the military establishment should have sought formal permission from the leadership of the country ie, president and PM, which seemingly was not done at all,” it added.

For the same purpose, the petitioner wrote letters president of Pakistan being the supreme commander of armed forces to know whether he was invited to review the passing out parade or any invitation was extended to PM of Pakistan being the chief executive of the country or they declined to review the same. The written request was made on 23-11-2017 and yet no reply has been received so far.

The petitioner also sent letter to Ministry of Foreign Affairs secretary to know whether any NOC was obtained by the military authorities before inviting and communicating the British general to review the passing out parade of young officers of Pakistan Army.

“[However], till date, no reply has been received; therefore the petitioner has a reason to believe that the military establishment has not got any NOC from the foreign office which is a serious violation of rule of business and attracts the provisions of Secret Act,” he said.



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