IHC to take up plea against former army chief Bajwa, spymaster Faiz Hameed

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has fixed for hearing a plea against former army chief Gen (rtd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, ex-spymaster Lt Gen (rtd) Faiz Hameed and two journalists in a case pertaining to allegedly flouting the Official Secrets Act on Tuesday (November 28).

On October 9, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq had issued notices to the former military generals, concerned journalists and the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in response to a petition seeking legal proceedings against them.

In the petition, Atif Ali — a concerned citizen — had sought the registration of a case against journalists Javed Chaudhry, Shahid Maitla and the former generals over news reports regarding the ex-military officers’ role in politics.

The petitioner had contended that the interview of ex-Gen Bajwa was conducted in a “reckless” manner and the journalists, Chaudhry and Maitla, did not show any sense of responsibility in publishing them.

The petition claimed the revelations made in the interview(s) were a violation of the Official Secrets Act and tantamount to inciting mutiny and disharmony.

It requested the court to issue directions to the DG FIA to register an FIR (first information report) against the former chief of army staff, ex-Inter Services Intelligence chief and journalists. Besides, it also sought directions from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regu­latory Authority to impose a ban on the two journalists.

Initially, the registrar’s office of the IHC in March this year had raised an objection, saying that the high court was not an appropriate forum and asked the petitioner to approach the relevant authorities.

When the petition was heard by the IHC chief justice, he had asked the DG FIA to proceed in accordance with the law. However, the petitioner during the hearing had informed the court that the investigation agency did not take any action.

Subsequently, Justice Farooq had issued notices to all respondents which included Gen Bajwa, ex-ISI DG, journalists Chaudhry and Maitla, and the FIA.

Gen Bajwa had reportedly discussed various matters, including the no-confidence motion, against former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan, civil-military relations and other issues in interviews with the journalists. The petitioner had also annexed these articles with the petition.

The petition stated that the authors of these news articles allegedly distorted facts in order to enhance the viewership. It further said the articles raised certain questions on the conduct of military authorities which required to be probed.

The petitioner claimed that the respondents had committed a “cognisable offence” and were liable to proceed in accordance with the relevant laws.


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