LAHORE  - Challenging his removal from service in Lahore High Court, former chief of army staff Ziauddin Butt has prayed to the court that the order be declared illegal and he may be issued all benefits due to him.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan on Tuesday directed the defence ministry to submit reply by October 16 on petition filed by ex-army chief. The petitioner submitted that on October 12, 1999 he was appointed as chief of army staff by then president Rafique Tarar on recommendations by then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. But soon after his appointment, he was arrested by heavily armed troops of 111 Brigade, Zia said, adding, it was a conspiracy against him. He said then prime minister Nawaz Sharif was also detained by troops.

Zia said, “Lt-Gen (r) Mehmud Ahmed and Maj-Gen Ali Jan Aurakzai came to us and asked us at gunpoint to step down but Nawaz Sharif refused to do so and they took us in custody.”

He said he was put into solitary confinement which lasted for two years. Zia said during that confinement he had to suffer a lot. He was dismissed from service, his property was seized forcibly and he was deprived of his right to receive pension. He said this all was done to him under the Provisional Constitutional Order passed by then president of Pakistan.

Zia further stated said, “The usurper (now a jailbird) oblivious of rule of law, justice and fair play started inflicting all possible punishments on him in sheer violation of fundamental rights without issuing any show cause notice.”

He said despite repeated appeals by his family consisting of two small children and wife, he was subjected to tyrant treatment for no legal or moral felony. During his confinement, his cardiac condition worsened and he lost 75 pounds of weight, the former army chief maintained.

He said on August 02, 2001 he was released and handed over an order telling that he had been dismissed from army service with immediate effect. He said this was an unsigned order having no name and designation of the authority passing the order nor the reasons thereof.

Zia said during detention, he was intimated that the agricultural land allotted to him stood cancelled although he had invested on that land heavily. He was also deprived of his private properties and properties of his wife. He filed an appeal to the COAS within stipulated time but did receive any response.

He submitted that being holder of a constitutional post under Article 243 of the Constitution he could not be ousted except in accordance with the law and could not be sacked from service and that too by a usurper.  He said his vested right to receive pension was also terminated without offering opportunity to defend himself.

He said complete proceedings of his case were a result of bias, vindictiveness and malafide intention without any jurisdiction. The petitioner prayed to the court that the order of his removal be declared null and void and all measures taken as a consequence thereupon may also be quashed being unlawful and the respondents may be directed to restore all the benefits due to him and payment of retirement dues as a four star general as well.