SC gives two-week time to govt to submit written arguments

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday gave two-week time to the federal government to submit its written arguments on the petition of two colonels who were arrested and charged for plotting to overthrow the Pakistan People’s Party government of (late) Benazir Bhutto in 1995. 

A three-member special bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial conducted hearing of the constitutional petitions of Col Inayatullah and Col Azad against their convictions by the Field General Court Martial (FGCM), withholding their pension and confiscation of their properties. 

During the hearing, Additional Attorney General (AAG) Sajid Illyas Bhatti said that the petitioners have filed written statements, therefore he needed some time to file written arguments in this regard. The bench directed the AAG to share the arguments with the petitioners before the next date of hearing and adjourned the hearing for two weeks. 

Col Inayatullah and Col Azad along with Maj Gen (Retd) Zaheerul Islam Abbasi , Brig Mustansir Billah and about 38 other military officers were arrested on September 26, 1995, on charges of plotting to overthrow Benazir Bhutto’s government and to storm a meeting of Corps Commanders at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi. 

The alleged plan also included assassination of the then prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the then army chief General Abdul Waheed Kakar, senior cabinet ministers and military chiefs, besides, proclamation of Khilafat with Maj Gen Abbasi as Amir. Qari Saifullah Akhtar, one of the conspirators and chief of his breakaway faction called Harkat-ul-Jihad al Islami, later spilled the beans after he turned an approver in the case. 

Col Inayatullah informed that FGCM had awarded him four years’ sentence, which he had completed in 1998. He told that the constitution petitions were filed in the Supreme Court in 2000, and since that time it is pending. 

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on January 8, 2013 had dismissed Maj Gen (Retd) Zaheerul Islam Abbasi, his wife Shahida Zaheer, Brig (Retd) Mustansir Billah and Col (Retd) Inayatullah Khan review pleas against their convictions. 

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