SC seeks report on Raheel, Pasha’s jobs abroad

SC seeks report on Raheel, Pasha’s jobs abroad

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked how former top military officers had got jobs abroad despite a law barring government officers from doing so for two years after retirement and asked if the law of the land was not applicable to the military officers.

The court directed the federal government to submit a report on granting permission and no-objection certificates (NOCs) to former COAS General (retd) Raheel Sharif and former director general ISI Lt Gen (retd) Asif Shuja Pasha for working abroad post-retirement.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing in the dual nationality case of government officials. Justice Umer Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsen were the other bench members.

The court also directed the federal government to submit a report on approval given to Lt Gen (retd) Ahmed Shuja Pasha for working abroad after retirement besides directing secretary defence to submit a comprehensive report on the foreign spouses of military officers.

The chief justice observed that as per the law, no government officer could acquire any other job after retirement for two years.

He said General (retd) Raheel Sharif got appointment in Saudi Arabia after retirement, while Lt Gen (retd) Ahmed Shuja Pasha got a job in Dubai after retirement.

“The court wants to know whether the federal government has granted permission to both the officers for foreign appointment and whether No Objection Certificates (NOC) have been issued in this regard,” the CJP remarked.

In pursuance of the court’s earlier orders, Secretary there were no dual nationals in the Pakistan Army, as according to the rules anyone holding a dual nationality could not serve in the armed forces.

The secretary, however, admitted that the spouses of some army officials were dual nationals and permission had been sought from the competent authority before their marriage. The court further asked the secretary if disciplinary action had been taken against the military officers who got married without permission and sought data in this regard.

The secretary defence was directed to conduct an exercise in the armed forces to identify those secretly holding their dual nationalities. The chief justice asked him to make a pro forma, asking all the officials about dual nationality and then submit a detailed report to the court.

A lawyer told the court that as per law of 1996 [relating to a ban on appointment of retired officials for two years] a person could do another job anywhere after retirement and completing two years.

The chief justice said General Pasha went to Dubai for a job soon after retirement adding that he headed the country’s premier intelligence agency and was privy to sensitive information. "Individuals who have headed sensitive departments should, in fact, be provided with security," the chief justice remarked.

He said General Raheel Sharif also went to Saudi Arabia after retirement and got appointed over there. The chief justice asked Attorney General Khalid Javed if there was any provision in the law for issuing an NOC for a foreign appointment.

As the AG replied in the affirmative, the Chief justice said he did not know whether or not the federal government had allowed General (R) Raheel Sharif to serve abroad. Secretary defence said the government had granted permission in this regard to which the chief justice observed that it was to be seen how this permission was granted.

"We will see how the permission was granted, and what was its nature and duration. These individuals should have obtained the cabinet's permission [prior to their departure]," the chief justice observed.

Meanwhile, the court also issued notices to 27 officers having dual nationality asking them to appear in person before the court and explain their respective positions in this regard and adjourned the hearing till August 7. Earlier, in pursuance of the court’s earlier direction, the attorney general submitted a list of 27 government officers with foreign nationalities till July 31, 2018.