Restricted choice: Brig Ali boycotts court martial proceedings

Serving officer from GHQ’s legal branch appointed to represent accused in proceedings.


Mudassir Raja April 03, 2012

RAWALPINDI:


Brigadier (retd) Ali Khan, facing charges of attempting to overthrow the government in a court martial hearing boycotted court proceedings on Monday, in protest against the refusal of military authorities to allow access to his lawyer. 


While talking to The Express Tribune, Advocate Colonel (retd) Inamur Raheem, representing Brig Ali, asserted that his client did not attend proceedings because military authorities had not allowed him to see the ‘counsel of his choice.’

“On Sunday, Brig (retd) Ali asked me to have a meeting with him. However, the authorities refused this demand,” said Inam.

“I was later informed that Lieutenant Colonel Khizar Hayat, hailing from General Headquarters’ (GHQ) legal branch, had been appointed as the defending officer for the accused,” he added.

According to Inam, under military laws an accused is provided a defending officer only if he cannot afford a lawyer or he assents to have a serving officer defend him in the court.

Lamenting the indifferent attitude of the concerned military authorities, Inam pointed out that he himself had been allowed to see the accused earlier only after the Lahore High Court (LHC) had directed him to do so.

Inam went on to add that Brig Ali had also urged the court to grant him permission to see the federal government‘s directives which pertained to his retirement.

The accused continues to maintain that he cannot be tried under military laws since he has already retired from the armed forces.

The court martial panel consists of five members and is being headed by a lieutenant general.

On May 5, military authorities detained Brig Ali, accused to have links with the banned outfit Hizbut Tahrir (HuT) which calls for the establishment of a caliphate in the Muslim world.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2012.

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