Challenging the PM’s decision: Sacked Lodhi meets Kayani, to move court

Published: January 13, 2012
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Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi was removed from the post of Defence Secretary by Prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi was removed from the post of Defence Secretary by Prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

ISLAMABAD: Three days after being sacked by the prime minister, former defence secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi has spoken out against his unceremonious removal, saying he was neither given a reason nor served any show cause notice.

He has also decided to move the court against his dismissal.

The government, however, rejected Lodhi’s stance and said he was dismissed because he filed a reply to the Supreme Court in the Memogate case without consulting the defense minister.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered the removal of Lodhi on Wednesday over allegations of ‘misconduct’ and ‘creating misunderstandings’ between the civil and military leadership.

Lodhi, a retired general considered more loyal to the military than the civilian government, was sacked immediately after the army publically rebuked the prime minister for his criticism against the military and intelligence chiefs.

“I have done nothing wrong. My reply in the Supreme Court on the memo case was in line with the rules of business,” he told The Express Tribune on Friday, while announcing his decision to move the court against the prime minister’s decision. Interestingly, the sacked defense secretary’s move comes after a meeting with army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Lodhi confirmed his meeting with Gen Kayani but insisted it had nothing to do with his decision to approach the court.

“I was his (Gen Kayani) corps commander and I meet him regularly,” he said.

Asked about the army chief’s reaction, the former secretary said: “He (Gen Kayani) expressed his disappointment over my sacking.”

Lodhi, who retired as corps commander of Bahawalpur in 2011, was believed to be appointed on the military’s advice.

It is learnt that the military brass has encouraged Lodhi to challenge his removal in the court in order to set the record straight that ‘he had done nothing wrong.’

However, he claimed that he had decided to approach the judiciary in his individual capacity.

Refusal to sign affidavit

Lodhi claimed that his refusal to sign a government affidavit on the Memogate scandal might have been the main reason behind his removal.

He maintained that he had adopted a neutral position on the affidavit. “This affidavit – was not my statement, and I cannot sign something which is not my statement.”

In his reply to the Supreme Court, Lodhi said the government did not have ‘operational control’ over the army and its intelligence agencies.

“I stand by my statement,” he argued. “The government can give general direction to the armed forces to accomplish certain tasks but when it comes to the operational details … for example how many guns you need, etc, that can only be decided by the military.”

LHC admits petition against Lodhi’s sacking

The Lahore High Court Registrar’s office has admitted a writ petition against the sacking of the former defence secretary, to be heard before Chief Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed on January 16.

Muhammad Azhar Siddique, chairman of a public interest litigation company Mohammad & Ahmad, moved the petition, stating that the removal of Lodhi was based on mala fides and was an attempt to create a confrontation between institutions. (Additional reporting by Rana Tanveer in Lahore)

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Sabrina Khan
    Jan 13, 2012 - 7:54PM

    the poor guy is only saying the truth! why make him a scape goat?

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  • Ahmad
    Jan 13, 2012 - 7:54PM

    Even if this is true, does the PM need a reason to remove anybody in the civil service? Surely the court must throw this petition out.

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  • F Khan
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:03PM

    @Ahmed: Excuse me, Lodhi is a civil servant and works under civil service rules.He is not a personal employee of the PM…why should a civil servant thrown out…just because he is not towing the government political line? I strong disagree with you.

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  • Kashif Iqbal
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:04PM

    PM has exercised his powers within the constitution; but the procedure was bit irritating. PM should have served a notice before the removal of this poor guy.

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  • Abbas from the US
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:21PM

    Retired Army officials who get a political appointment to head the Defence Ministry at the post of a Secretary can be fired without recourse. They are not subject to the rules applying to civil servants who put into their careers a lifetime of service.

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  • Jpy
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:23PM

    The supreme court should entertain only cases against Zardari & Co. Who is bothered about other cases

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  • aslam
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:31PM

    Tha PM is not running a personal fiefdom to hire and fire anyone. the Govt servants are protected by the service rules and in any case they are serving the state and not any body’s personal servant….If he had violated the rules of business in directly forwarding the replies of the COAS etc to the SC the PM also has to follow the rules of business to dismiss him.

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  • AshvinnAshvinn
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:33PM

    Somebody should tell Mr Giliani he is PM and should act like one, the civil servant was out of line w.r.t rules of business but I guess he should have been suspended or issued a show cause notice. Now Mr Lodhi by going to court will make it difficult for all players to reconcile.

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  • Shah
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:38PM

    @F Khan: Civil Service is not a Political Party that they can say what ever they like and what ever to fit their Agenda.If a Civil servant is promoting disension, than he does not have a place in Civil Service.

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  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:38PM

    He was in service for about 90 days and was removed without an opportunity of hearing.PM is acting like a monarch. He has ruined the country and it’s economy
    Mr Lodhi should go to court and claim damages

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  • Hairaan
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:40PM

    @Ahmad:
    Sure you do not know abc of the civil service. There are established rules and procedures to follow for hiring and firing. Without following these procedures you can not even fire a peon.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:42PM

    At the first instance the appointment of ex-army personnel at the civilian position was wrong.

    Furthermore, what would have Prime Minster expected from an ex-army personnel to write in his reply to Supreme Court when the Ex-Defense Secretary’s entire career was non-civilian?

    Mr. Lodhi was appointed on contract as Defense Secretary after his retirement from the Army and it was the prerogative of the Prime Minister to remove him any time during the period of contract.

    The former Defense Secretary can go to the court, but I don’t think that the court can order the Prime Minster to reinstate him.

    I would suggest to Mr. Lodhi to read the terms and conditions of his contract once again before referring the matter to the court so as to save his time as well as the money.

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  • Shah
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:43PM

    @Jpy: U say, Sureme court should entertain only cases Zardari & Co. What U think of more than seven thousands other cases of Corruption aganist other individuals who R pardon under NRO

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  • pakistani
    Jan 13, 2012 - 9:03PM

    “This is not the way democracy works, this is the way kings work” very true. Mr. Lodhi was employed as per contract and therefore the government cannot terminate the contract at will. He very rightly said that he cannot sign a document that he did not produce nor he agreed with. It is interesting to see the PM raising hue and cry over not following govt. channels. The courts summons hundreds of govt. officers daily in various cases including police officers, revenue officers etc. Do all these officers queue up outside the PM house to get their statements approved before simply stating facts before courts?? Shame on the PM who is misusing his powers only to disappoint the people from democratic rule.

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  • nnk
    Jan 13, 2012 - 9:56PM

    What rules of Business are we talking about in this land of pure!?. Any one can be posted, promoted, hired or fired if he/she does not confirm to their Boss's desire! We have not as yet turned into a Banana Republic, but are close to becoming one. But alas, our Superior Judiciary has come of age and i am sure they will provide justice to all who have been unjustly treated by this government.
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  • Ahmad
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:01PM

    @F Khan:

    In your manufactured anger, you miss one crucial point here. Lodhi is NOT a civil servant. He is a retired army man employed on a contract, which can be terminated whenever the PM so pleases.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:02PM

    Perhaps the Supreme Court’s panel of Judges should take over running this Country !
    As it seems like everyone else is running to them for solutions, except the PM & President !
    Why is this not being managed in proper fashion like any other democracy in the world?
    Where is Parliament and its views here ??
    This is just confirming to the World that Pakistan is the Problem, in every area possible, from Foreign Policy, Sherltering terrorists, interfearing in Neighbour’s territory via their Proxies to ensuring prolonged unstable Afghanistan !
    Let’s not even discuss their internal problems, with the State of Economy, Unemployment, complete breakdown of Nationalised Industries, Energy Crises, Lack of Basic Healthcare or Education and the Treasury being virtually bare !!!!
    Yet this is so called Nuclear Power !!!! Who has to beg from everyone that is willing to assist with Aid, Long term Credit etc

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  • Mirza
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:00PM

    A contract employ who has not even completed his probation is acting against the elected govt and PM and going to court! Can only happen in Pakistan. The generals was getting all the retirement perks and double dipping as another high paying contract employ and yet acting like an independently working general. Let us learn the lession. Do not ever hire generals in place of civilians.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:25PM

    @Mirza:
    My good man, This is Pakistan we are discussing, How can you possibly have Retd Generals not active in any major roles, may that be Diplomatic Missions and Postings abroad, Civil Service or in Cabinet, without ever being elected !!!
    This is the Franternity, which simply will not rest on their Laurels !!!
    This trend has been there since the beginning, so nothing new here.

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  • Jan 13, 2012 - 11:41PM

    Mr. Lodhi is not personal servant of PM and Pm is also like other bound by the law. It is held by the superior courts of Pakistan that “Even the Chief Executive is no above Law”. Mr. Lodhi should have suspended or atleast should have issued notice. It is universal law that no body should be CONDEMNED UNHEARD. It is said that EVEN SATAN WAS NOT CONDEMNED UNHEARD BY THE GOD. Even otherwise principle of Natural Justice is treated to be part and parcel of every statute even if it is not part of it.Recommend

  • linga0123
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:35AM

    I ever there is a Nobel Prize for ‘LOGIC’, the only candidate for the same should be Naeem Khalid Lodhi.

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  • saleh
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:06AM

    It would be hilarious if Asma Jahangir is hired to represents Mr. Lodhi, This is Pakistan anything is possible.

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  • Umer
    Jan 14, 2012 - 2:44AM

    As government servant he was to follow what government says. If he wants to disagree, resign then disagree. Pakistan is possibly only country on the world where government servants dictate their own governments.

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  • Lone Star
    Jan 14, 2012 - 2:47AM

    @Hedgefunder:
    Don’t scare us with these outlawed lawers, whose hero is a “Qadri Mamtaz”.

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  • Questioner
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:34AM

    @Hedgefunder:
    Mr. Hedgefunder. If PM and President were listening to the pleas of people surely they would go there but it seems like PM and president are busy showing fake bravado over the memo or their stance. They are a party to this case so why don’t they just shut up and let the courts decide?

    @Mirza:
    Which law permits that ex-servicemen can not be employed again? Half of american presidential candidates had military experience. How would you respond to that sir?

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  • Abbas from the US
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:51AM

    @Malik Waqar Haider Awan:

    believe me that Satan was condemd while not heard by the God

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  • Abbas from the US
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:55AM

    @Mirza:
    Please clarify this one for me how was he a contract employee. This appointment to fill the slot should be at the level of the Chief Secretary under the guidance of the Prime Ministers office.

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  • Saad
    Jan 14, 2012 - 4:18AM

    Good job PM, all such jobs should be immediately returned to civil servants and bureaucracy while all the folks who their names extend by an assortment of ‘retireds’ should be sent home without notice.

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  • plaintalk
    Jan 14, 2012 - 8:00AM

    @Ahmad: Which planet are you from? Sacking an employee without giving him a chance to explain himself? Ever heard of it? Then why does Babar complain that the Supreme Court issued an order against him without hearing him? Gilani acted like the civilian martia llaw administrator, Z.A.B.

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  • plaintalk
    Jan 14, 2012 - 8:02AM

    Who wrote the headline? Please find out the difference between “unceremonial” and “unceremonious.”

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  • ubaid
    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:24AM

    Hiring of military personnel in the civil service is according to the constitution which says 10% of these seats are reserved for retired military personnel, and right now that it is below this 10% mark. So those who do not approve of this should go for change in the constitution.
    and if Gen Lodhi was fired for so called going against the rules of the business so the PM now also stands in the same category and also be fired.

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  • Mirza
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:46PM

    @ubaid:
    Of course PM can be fired without any reason and it can be done anytime, but by the elected parliament only which appointed/elected him in the first place. In other words his hiring authority has the powers to fire him as well.
    Regards,
    Mirza

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  • Mirza
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:57PM

    @Abbas from the US: I am glad that you asked the question. I am not making it up and have read it right here in this paper.
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/319790/gilani-removes-lodhi-from-defence-secretary-post/
    “Prime minister has terminated the contract of defence secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi for gross misconduct,” a senior government official told AFP.”
    BTW, I enjoy your comments. Thanks and regards,
    MIrza

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  • MarkH
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:57PM

    @Questioner:
    Difference is, the American presidents are voted in. Not hired. You stretched the comparison too far and too thin.

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  • grinz09
    Jan 14, 2012 - 5:23PM

    @Jpy:
    Not NS’s cases?

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  • nnk
    Jan 14, 2012 - 7:33PM

    @ubaid:
    You are absolutely right on 10% reserved seats in the government. However, if the Secretary Defense was merely made a scapegoat and removed without due process as being claimed by him, he is justified to seek justice

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  • Jugnu
    Jan 15, 2012 - 7:18AM

    This civillian government is very immature and acts like an angry teenager holding too much power. . . .it is like giving a loaded gun to an angry teenager. The constitution need to be amended to keep Military supreme and not under civilian corrupt leadership whatsoever.

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  • Jugnu
    Jan 15, 2012 - 7:20AM

    The Supreme Court must look into this very seriously. The people are watching . . . .

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  • ANWAR ALI
    Feb 28, 2012 - 12:10PM

    @nnk:
    That the Government has to treat all the employees at par in respect of the privileges and other service benefits as there appears to be no earthly reason benefiting a certain group of persons and depriving other similarly placed persons with same post and job description.
    2) I myself got terminated through Terms & Condition by Ex Sect Defence. I filed an ICA 157 in WP 1750 in LHC.
    3) I require finances to go to the Apex court.

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