In its order dismissing a petition seeking redress for the alleged corruption of ex-ISI chief Lt. Gen. (retd.) Faiz Hameed, the Supreme Court has observed the case cannot be left unattended, as “it is extremely serious and, if true, would undermine the reputation of the federal government, the armed forces, and Pakistan Rangers.” The petition was filed by the owner of the TopCity Housing Society, who alleged the former spymaster had ordered a raid of his house and office in May 2017, with an aim to secure illegal control of real estate project. If proven true, per the Supreme Court order, this was a misuse of Hameed’s office, wherein he allegedly order the commission of crimes against the petitioner and his family.
The allegations listed against Gen. (retd.) Hameed by the petitioner are significant. According to the property tycoon, personnel of the ISI and Pakistan Rangers raided his residence and business offices; detained him and his family members; robbed them of their personal and business properties; compelled the petitioner to transfer his business to handpicked nominees; and had false cases registered against him, his family, and employees. The petitioner further maintains that the ex-ISI chief and those under his command, as well as the Pakistan Rangers, abused the powers of their offices while serving in the armed forces.
Unsurprisingly, this case was only taken up after the retirement of Gen. (retd.) Hameed, as it is difficult to imagine similar allegations being voiced against a serving officer. These are also not the only allegations against the ex-ISI chief. Earlier this year, former minister Faisal Vawda alleged that the person to have “benefited the most” from the £190 million settlement case—which Britain’s National Crime Agency seized from Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz and the PTI-led government allegedly returned to him—was Gen. (retd.) Hameed. Not to mention the numerous allegations from then-opposition politicians of the ISI’s role in political engineering under his leadership.
The case, if taken to its logical conclusion, could prove a bellwether for accountability that top Army officials are rarely subject to. For now, the court has directed the petitioner to approach the Ministry of Defense to register a complaint, while granting the right to return to the apex court once all other options are exhausted. The government must now ensure a fair and transparent probe to either ensure justice for the petitioner or clear Lt. Gen. (retd.) Hameed’s name if it does not want the public to form its own opinions based on already-available information.