Islamabad High Court building.—File photo
ISLAMABAD: Lt Gen (retired) Naeem Khalid Lodhi is one of the earliest fall guys in the memogate fiasco, but he's not going down without a whimper.
The former defence secretary is making last ditch efforts to correct the wrong done to him when he was unceremoniously and without any reason terminated from his post.
In a petition filed at the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday, Lt Gen Lodhi has claimed that his termination as defence secretary is illegal, and that it is intended to clear the way to arbitrarily remove the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for personal and political gains.
The petition was filed by General Lodhi's lawyers Mohammad Munir Paracha and F.K. Butt and cited the president, prime minister, cabinet secretaries, the establishment division and Acting Secretary Defence Nargis Sethi as respondents.
Lt-Gen Lodhi has stated that on November 28, 2011 he was appointed as defence secretary for a period of two years, but on January 11, 2012 the respondents dismissed him from service without issuing any charge-sheet or show cause notice.
The petition says that the termination of the contract was in violation of the fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 4, 14 and 25 of the Constitution, and requested the court to set aside the termination notification and restore him to the post of defence secretary till the final decision on his petition.
Lt-Gen Lodhi has also accused the respondents of pressuring him to sign an af-fidavit on the memogate issue prepared by the government functionaries.
He explained that he could not justify signing an affidavit prepared by someone else and one that was contrary to the true and actual facts he believes the affidavit conflicts with the written statements submitted by the COAS and DG ISI to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Mr Lodhi has said that he has submitted his affidavit on the matter to the Supreme Court through Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq.
His counsel F. K. Butt told Dawn: 'The government was pressurising him to sign the same affidavit that it submitted in the Supreme Court in memo case. The other ministers and officials accepted the orders and signed the ready-made reply but my client refused to do so.According to Advocate Butt the replies of COAS and DG ISI were submitted in this case in accordance with the prescribed rules and through the attorney-general's office and if there was anything contrary to the government stance in the replies it could either be corrected or be sent back for correction.
The petition pointed out that in common practice government departments and authorities submit their replies directly to the superior and lower courts without the consent of law ministry and their respective ministers.
It may be pertinent to mention here that the government in their replies submitted in the apex court termed the memorandum a pack of lies while the versions of the COAS and DG ISI were different than that of the government.
It said the respondents were incensed by the rejoinder issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations on January 11 in response to the 'irresponsible interview' given by the Prime Minister to the People's Daily Online of China.
After that the respondents in a knee-jerk reaction terminated the service contract of the defence secretary.
Meanwhile, Advocate Paracha, another counsel of the petitioner, said that there was already a petition pending in the apex court against General Lodhi's termination: 'It has been filed by one of the petitioners in the memo case but not on the instructions of General Lodhi. He is not an aggrieved party in that petition.
He added: 'The current petition is different from the earlier petition because it has been filed by the aggrieved party, General Lodhi, himself.