ISLAMABAD: A retired major general of Pakistan Army has moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC), seeking release of his son from custody of military authorities who put him behind bars after he wrote letters to the army chief and other senior officers against certain polices.
After a preliminary hearing, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani issued notices to the station house officer of Shalimar police station and adjutant general of army and sought their responses to the petition filed by retired Maj Gen Syed Zaffar Mehdi Askree till January 20.
The petitioner’s counsel Zainab Janjua informed the court that Mr Askree’s son Hasan Askree, a civilian, has been nominated in an FIR under Section 131 [abetting mutiny], but a judicial magistrate has handed over his custody to adjutant general of the army.
The petitioner requested the court to order release of his son and issue a restraining order against court martial proceedings in the matter.
As per details of the case, Hasan Askree, an engineer by profession, was working with BIAFO Industries. He was picked up on October 2, 2020, from his house in F-11. The magistrate handed over his custody to the military authorities the same day for court martial proceedings against him.
According to the petition: “Hasan Askree has written to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) a few times to express his discontent with the functioning of the armed forces. The letters express criticism on certain polices of the current regime of army. In essence, the letters strongly worded though they may be, merely illustrate the disillusion of a citizen who is using the letters to state his disapproval of certain actions and policies of a state institution.”
The petition stated that Hasan Askree never wrote any derogatory or scandalous letters. No correspondence by him has ever encouraged or incited the overthrow of democratic rule. “Instead, the intention behind the letters is to highlight the deficiencies in the existing state of affairs.” The petitioner requested the court to quash the FIR registered against his son and also order his release.
Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2021