The country’s investigation agencies are probing the conduct of former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Gen. (retd.) Faiz Hamid, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah claimed on Wednesday, adding that any developments in the probe will be shared with media.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he also clarified that only the Army can decide whether or not Hamid should be court-martialed. The General Headquarters conducts military trials, not the interior ministry, he added. A day earlier, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Senior Vice-President Maryam Nawaz had told an interviewer that in her view the former ISI chief should be court-martialed for his role in the cases against her father, Nawaz Sharif, as well as his “illegal” support to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
According to anchor Kamran Khan, Hamid has sought to distance himself from the allegations levelled against him, claiming that any steps he took were done at the behest of the then-Army chief.
Discussing the Punjab caretaker government’s imposition of Section 144 in Lahore ahead of a PTI rally, Sanaullah claimed it was in response to security threats provided by agencies. He said the PTI had failed to provide details of their rally’s route despite multiple requests, adding that there were fears of the PTI’s rally interfering with the Aurat March or the Jamaat-e-Islami’s counter-Haya March. The PTI, he clarified, had been requested to proceed toward Liberty Chowk rather than Data Darbar to avoid any untoward situation, but they had refused to do so.
“Fitna, anarchy, and chaos are his [Khan’s] ways,” he said, claiming no other political leaders had attempted to bar law enforcement agencies from performing their duties. Slamming Khan for repeatedly refusing to attend court proceedings, he challenged the PTI chief to appear for hearings if he had recovered sufficiently from his injuries—sustained during a shooting on his long march at Wazirabad last November—to lead election rallies.
Lamenting that the courts kept granting “relief” to Khan despite his attitude, he hoped this largesse would come to a halt. “Any further relief for him [Khan] will raise questions. Judiciary’s impartiality will be hampered,” he added.
During his press conference, the interior minister also requested the Jamaat-e-Islami to stage its Haya March on March 7 or 9 in future, noting it unnecessarily conflicted with the Aurat March marking International Women’s Day. “Aurat March takes place on March 8; our mothers and sisters are marching in it,” he said, adding that the day holds immense importance for the women.