close
Saturday May 18, 2024

Faizabad dharna: Inquiry commission gives clean chit to Gen Faiz

The commission also proposed to legislate about intelligence agencies of the country

By Azaz Syed
April 16, 2024
Former ISI DG Lt-Gen (r) Faiz Hameed looks on in this image. — The Pakistan Military Monitor Website
Former ISI DG Lt-Gen (r) Faiz Hameed looks on in this image. — The Pakistan Military Monitor Website

ISLAMABAD: The commission to probe Faizabad dharna case has given a clean chit to the then Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) internal security in-charge Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and Rangers Director General Maj Gen Azhar Naveed Hayat who distributed money among the sit-in participants.

The commission was formed on the directives of the Supreme Court to know the facts behind 2017 sit-in at Faizabad by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). The commission in its finding said that Gen Faiz had to sign the accord as an arbitrator as he had permission of the then Army Chief and ISI DG.

The commission had held the then Punjab government of Shehbaz Sharif responsible. However, it has refrained from writing the name of Shehbaz Sharif. This correspondent had an opportunity to read the commission report and get some of its excerpts. The commission said that no politician or official had given any proof of involvement of any agency or a state institution in the sit-in. So the commission could not establish any link between the TLP sit-in and a government officials.

The commission also proposed to legislate about intelligence agencies of the country. It said that the Army is a sacred institution of the state, and it should be refrained from interfering in the civil matters so that it could be saved from criticism. With such action, public trust in the institution would increase.

The commission has proposed giving Intelligence Bureau a lead role regarding internal security. It has proposed action against the then Punjab IG Arif Nawaz for telling the commission a lie and misconduct.

The commission was assigned to name the culprits behind the sit-in; however, it only recommended action against the people in light of the reports of Centre and Punjab. The 243-page report on the commission has been received by the Supreme Court and the Cabinet Division. The report has recommended restoring the cases against the TLP during dharna.

Former official of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Dr Akhtar Ali Shah was heading the commission while, former IG Tahir Alam and PAS senior official Khushhal Khan were its members. The commission has also attached statements of Shehbaz Sharif, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, incumbent IB chief Fawad Asadullah, firmer ISI DG Lt Gen (R) Faiz Hameed, former IB chief Aftab Sultan, former Punjab IG Arif Nawaz, former Rangers DG Lt Gen (R) Azhar Naveed Hayat and others as an annexure.

The commission said that the then Punjab government desisted from taking action against the protesters to save its vote bank and the action was not praiseworthy as it was an escape from the responsibilities and a misconduct. It recommended action against the responsible persons.

The commission said that there should be no agreement with the terrorists, and there should be some permanent solution to the problem. The commission recommended that Rangers and FC should be sent back to the borders and should be stopped from entering the urban areas, and the money spent on them should be shifted to the police.

The commission has rejected accord with the TLP at that time, suggesting that such agreements are a temporary solution, not a permanent one. It said that there is no code of conduct for the intelligence agencies, so there is need for legislation regarding their rules and SOPs. The commission recommended implementation of the National Action Plan.

It said that besides the federal secretaries, the ministers should also be given financial and administrative authority. The capital chief commissioner should be independent. It also recommended that all the agencies should work jointly to stop financial assistance to terrorists.

The commission has recommended reconstitution of Pemra Council of Complaints and suspension of TV licence for six months and Rs50 million fine on airing provocative and violent content. It also recommended to establish a special riot force for Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

No one except former Pemra chief Absar Alam gave any statement against Gen Faiz Hameed. While, the then Punjab home minister Rana Sanaullah did not appear despite being summoned. Shehbaz Sharif and former ISI DG submitted their written statements with the commission.

Former Rangers DG Maj Gen Azhar Naveed Hayat had said that he gave money to the sit-in participants from his pocket out of sympathy so that they could collect their belongings from police stations and return to their homes, and rejected involvement of any agency or state institution in the financial assistance.