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ISLAMABAD, Sept 24: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman dismissed on Monday a petition against extension in the service of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

The chief justice declared the petition non-maintainable because under Proviso 3 of Article 199 of the Constitution the court could not hear matters relating to members of armed forces.

Petitioner Col (retd) Inamur Rahim, a convener of the Ex-Servicemen’s Legal Forum, contended that after reaching the age of 60 Gen Kayani had become an alien to the army because under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) he could not continue in the service or command the force after crossing the age of superannuation.

The lawyer said that because of the fact that Gen Kayani was no more a member of the armed forces he was no more subject to the constitutional bar of Proviso 3 of Article 199.

He said there was no provision in PAA rules under which an extension of a complete tenure could be granted to any person subject to the act.

He said the extension for another term of three years had been granted by the authorities concerned in a mechanical manner without applying the mind and bothering that the officer would surpass the age of superannuation on April 20 this year.

The petition pointed out that the Supreme Court had observed on a number of occasions that extension in service and re-employment of employees in government services deprived the officials who deserved to be appointed to the posts of their right because the positions were occupied by the re-employed employees.

It said more than a dozen lieutenant generals would retire without being considered to become a general because of the extension granted to Gen Kayani which was a clear violation of Article 9 and tantamount to depriving the senior officers of their fundamental right because their promotion had been blocked.

CONVICT’S PLEA: An LHC division in Rawalpindi dismissed the appeal of a convict in the Army House attack case.

The bench comprised Justice Maqbool Ahmed Bajwa and Justice Ali Baqir Najafi.

Zafar Ali of Darra Adamkhel, one of the six men convicted of conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack on the official residence of the COAS, had challenged his conviction by an anti-terrorism court (ATC).

The ATC had convicted Zafar Ali, Intikhab Abbasi, Abid Khan, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Kabeer and Qamar Zaman on Aug 31, 2010, and sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment for life and fine for planning a suicide attack on the Army House to kill former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf on June 8, 2008.

Former chief of the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Baitulllah Mehsud, the mastermind of the attack; and his associates Wali Mohammad, Ibadur Rehman, Sardar, Commander Tariq, Rehan, Ijaz, Wassem, Saad Munir and Suleman were declared absconders.

The appellant’s counsel Rana Asif Mehmood said the prosecution agency could not investigate the case and the ATC had wrongly convicted the man because it was a case of explosive substance and not of terrorism.

Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said the appellant was among the six terrorists who had hatched the conspiracy but could not succeed because they had been arrested on June 6, 2008, and their vehicles captured.

He said both terrorism and carrying explosive substance were scheduled offences falling under the purview of the FIA and the ATC could take up the case under Section 21 of the Anti-Terrorism Act because the convicts were also facing charges related to terrorism.

Requesting dismissal of the appeal, he said the accused were about to explode 900kg of high explosives which would have caused immense damage in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.