ISLAMABAD, March 6: In what may be the first such case in Pakistan’s history, four civilian employees of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) with complaints about their own chief, ISI Director-General Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam.
They claim that he, along with other senior government officers, should be charged with contempt of court, regarding an IHC ruling on regularisation of employees.
The four men, Grade-18 officers, claim to have been working for the past seven years as junior analysts in the ISI, on a contract basis.
They claim that their contractual appointments were limited to five years, after which they were to be made permanent employees.
Along with other federal government employees, the four officers came to the Islamabad High Court late last year, and on December 31, the IHC directed the government to “regularise the services of contract employees”.
A cabinet subcommittee supervised the process at various ministries and departments, but these ISI employees were not regularised.
The ISI employees have asked the IHC to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam; Lt-Gen (retired) Asif Yasin Malik, Secretary of Defence; Tamiur Azmat Usman, Secretary of the Establishment; and Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, chairman of the cabinet subcommittee on regularisation of contractual employees.
They claim that the respondents did not comply with the IHC’s December 31 ruling.
An ISI official, however, told Dawn that contract appointments in the ISI are different from those in other departments.
“Regular appointments can only be made after candidates complete competitive exams and undergo psychological and intelligence tests,” he said.
The four petitioners, he claimed, “cannot get permanent positions in the ISI without going through these steps”.
The army-related litigation has increased manifold in the superior judiciary after the restoration of chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in 2009.
The Supreme Court on a number of occasions summoned the army authorities and issued directions to the senior army officials.
The apex court in November last year deciding Air Marshal (retired) Asghar Khan’s petition filed in 1996 accusing the ISI of distributing Rs60 million among the politicians to manipulate the general elections of 1990 also ordered for ceasing political and election cell in the ISI Military Intelligence and in the presidency.
In the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi in whose jurisdiction military’s General Headquarters falls, over 100 army-related petitions are pending for adjudications.
Most of them are service related matters.
Since the establishment of the IHC in January 2011 over two dozen petitions have been filed in which ISI has been one of the respondents.
These petitions were mainly filed by the heirs of missing persons who allegedly picked by the spy agencies.
In the past the courts used to avoid taking up such matters because of article 199 (3) of the constitution which bars the court from taking up cases related to the service of personnel of armed forces.