Talk against army cannot be tolerated: CJ


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday remarked that the court cannot tolerate any talk against the institution of the army, adding that the country could not be left at the mercy of terrorists.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was hearing a petition filed by Senator Ibrahim against the assigning of civil powers to the army in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
At the inception of the hearing, Ghulam Nabi Fani, the counsel for Senator Ibrahim, termed several provisions of Fata regulations to be in conflict with the law and Constitution. He said that it was laid down in the law of evidence that proceedings would be initiated against the accused under evidence. On the other hand, statement of army personnel had been declared evidence in the Fata Regulation, he argued.
One law is in place in the country to deal with terrorism, but why cannot it be extended to Fata? he argued.He said that Karachi was under the occupation of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and it could do there whatever it wanted. The army is conducting an operation in Balochistan and the army chief cannot go to Karachi, he added.
All the judges, including the chief justice, reacted to it and remarked: “You are giving a wrong statement as the army chief and the chief justice were in Karachi on March 6.”The counsel said: “It is possible he may have been allowed to come to Karachi at that time.”
Raja Muhammad Irshad, the counsel for the intelligence agencies, expressed wonder and regret over the statement of the counsel for the petitioner regarding the army chief, saying that the COAS had been insulted and the counsel was giving a false statement. The army chief goes everywhere and nothing like this is in Karachi. The army has to remain extremely careful in exercising civil powers, he said.
Raja Irshad said: “Army personnel were being butchered. Army personnel are being killed daily.”The chief justice barred Ghulam Nabi from saying anything against the army without evidence. “Please bring evidence. Raja Irshad will evolve a report and present it to the court on what the situation prevails therein. We cannot tolerate such type of talk against the army. Strife-torn areas cannot be left at the mercy of terrorists. The special powers, including calling in the army, are assigned under specific situation as per the Constitution. Eighteen persons were targeted a day before. Where the situation will stand if the army returns from there? No military operation is being conducted in Balochistan and the dead bodies in gunny bags are being discovered daily. You say peace prevails therein. Please tell the court if peace was there from April 12, 2008, till now and we will order for the withdrawal of the army from there.”

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