Sunday June 23, 2024

Is Gen Faiz Hameed’s defence defensible?

Faiz's defence against claims of involvement in politics when in command not in line with Constitution, oath of armed forces

By Fakhar Durrani
March 09, 2023
Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hamid. — Screengrab/Twitter
Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hamid. — Screengrab/Twitter 

ISLAMABAD: Former DG ISI Lt-Gen (R) Faiz Hameed’s defence against allegations of his involvement in political matters when he was in command is not in line with the Constitution and the oath of armed forces.

The PMLN top leaders, particularly Maryam Nawaz, has demanded court martial of former DG ISI Lt Gen (R) Faiz Hameed for his alleged involvement in political matters. Recently, the PMLN leadership has been continuously demanding action against the retired general. Apart from the former DG ISI, the ruling party’s leaders have also raised questions on former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

In response to these allegations, former DG ISI Lt Gen (R) Faiz Hameed clarified his position. Senior anchorperson Kamran Khan has written on his social networking website that Lt Gen (R) Faiz Hameed has sent him messages and responded to the allegations leveled by PMLN chief organiser Maryam Nawaz.

“Former DG ISI in response to the allegations leveled by Maryam Nawaz has reminded through text messages to me that he was merely a major general in 2017-18. Can a major general, while following the military discipline, topple an elected government on his own? In the army, the decisions are made by the chief only. All the verdicts were given by the courts,” Kamran Khan tweeted.

The question is whether the plea taken by the former DG ISI is defensible? Can he defend his actions if taken to the court? Can Lt Gen (R) Faiz Hameed justify his involvement in politics as alleged by the ruling party?

Constitutional and legal experts say the former spy chief’s defence is weak. If he takes this plea that he was only following the chief’s order, then he might not be able to defend himself.

Under Article 244 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the personnel take oath while joining the armed forces. According to this oath, the soldiers solemnly swear that they will never take part in any political activity whatsoever and always uphold the Constitution.

Legal experts believe that if proved that Lt Gen (R) Faiz Hameed was involved in any kind of political activity, then it will not be possible for him to defend himself because not only he has violated his own oath but he has violated the Article 4 of the Constitution as well.

The Article 4 of the Constitution says, “To enjoy the protection of law and to be treated in accordance with law is the inalienable right of every citizen. Wherever he may be, and of every other person for the time being within Pakistan; (c) no person shall be compelled to do that which the law does not require him to do.”

Justice (R) Wajihuddin Ahmad believes if it is established that Lt Gen (R) Faiz Hameed was involved in unlawful activities, then his acts could not be defended.

“First it has to be established whether the actions taken by Lt Gen (R) Faiz Hameed were lawful or unlawful. If it is proved that any of his act was unlawful, then it doesn’t matter that he took the action under command or voluntarily, he cannot be defended. So, first the political leaders who are alleging political interference of the retired general have to prove his unlawful act, then the question of any action against him will arise,” commented Justice (R) Wajih.