RAWALPINDI, Sept 22: The army has rejected a request by its four officers convicted of having links with the proscribed Hizbut Tahrir for provision of trial proceedings of the field general court martial.

On August 3, the FGCM convicted Major Sohail Akbar, Major Jawad Baseer, Major Inayat Aziz and Major Iftikhar, the alleged associates of Brigadier Ali Khan, of having links with the HuT.

The officers were awarded rigorous imprisonment (RI) for terms ranging from 18 months to three years.

On September 15, a formal request was sent to the army chief by the four officers through their counsel, Col (retired) Abdul Aziz Chandio and Col (retired) Inamur Rahim, seeking the copies of the trial proceedings.

The counsel pointed out that the FGCM had wrongly awarded rigorous imprisonment to their clients for having links with the proscribed outfit for three years to 18 months, as the sentence for such an offence, even if proven, was not more than six months.

The judge advocate general (JAG) branch of the army in its reply said: “The competent authority regretted the provision of copy of FGCM proceedings in the light of proviso of Pakistan Army Act (PAA) rule 130.”

The letter from JAG branch, however, offered the counsel to consult the trial proceedings at the log area on September 24-25.

Col Rahim told Dawn that the offer was not acceptable because during such a short time the counsel cannot prepare their notes for arguing the appeal of the convicted officers.

“Under the law, the army authorities are bound to provide the trial proceedings,” he maintained.

On August 17, Col Rahim had applied for the copy of the trial proceedings of Brigadier Ali but the chief of the army staff on September 13 turned down his request because of the security reasons as mentioned in rule 130 of PAA.

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