Islamabad, November 19
A Pakistani District Judge serving in the country’s Punjab province has been removed by the authorities for allegedly admonishing the defence secretary Hamooduz Zaman, who is a former general of the Army, for failing to comply with a court order.
Waris Ali, who was serving as the Additional District & Sessions Judge (ADSJ) in Rawalpindi, was removed from his post on Saturday and moved to Lahore after declaring him an Officer on Special Duty (OSD), a term used for those government officials who are not assigned any job but they continue to receive salaries.
“The Honourable Chief Justice and judges are pleased to post Mr Waris Ali, ADSJ, Rawalpindi as OSD at Sessions Court, Lahore in the public interest, with immediate effect,” reads a notification issued by the Lahore High Court (LHC) registrar Sheikh Khalid Bashir.
The LHC, which administratively controls all district judges in the Punjab province, took action against ADSJ Ali a day after he admonished defence secretary retired Lt Gen Hamooduz Zaman.
Ali apparently drew the higher-ups ire after hearing a case on Friday when he ordered the federal government to remove Defence Secretary Zaman, a report in the Dawn newspaper said.
He had ordered the defence secretary to submit a report on the military’s businesses and their beneficiaries.
But the defence secretary neither complied with the order nor appeared in court.
The lead counsel was also absent when the matter was taken up. His clerk submitted a memo of appearance on behalf of the defence secretary.
The judge refused to accept the memo since the lead counsel did not appear personally.
He remarked that such conduct by a high-ranking public official was tantamount to “the denial of the existence of one of the pillars of the state, i.e. the judiciary” and this could not be ignored.
In the written verdict, he ordered the federal secretary’s removal and sought assistance from the Attorney General with an observation that the case required the interpretation of the Constitution as the functions of the armed forces are regulated under Article 245 of the Constitution.
ADSJ Ali, in the order, wrote that the said article outlined no role of the Army other than defending the country against external aggression or threat of war or when it was called to help the civilian government.
He also fixed the next hearing for November 24. Now, a new judge would take up the case as Ali has been directed to take charge as OSD ‘on or before November 20’.
Pakistan military establishment was deemed highly powerful and the latest incident was an example of its clout.
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