Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Free speech and retired officers: a case from Pakistan

The Pakistan Army has convened a court of inquiry to look into possible court-martial charges against a retired lieutenant general who headed the country's intelligence service and recently co-authored a book with his former Indian opposite number. Details here, from Dawn. The government has also barred the retired general from leaving the country. Excerpt from the news report:
The military is taking it as a potential case of violation of ‘Military Code of Conduct’, which it says is applicable to all serving and retired military personnel. Section 55 of the Military Law, which relates to “conduct unbecoming of an officer” is considered to have a very wide scope.

The court of inquiry would look into the book and determine if its content and Mr Durrani’s involvement with the book was culpable and then based on its findings it would make recommendations to the army chief on how to proceed further with the matter.

In the worst-case scenario, former military officers fear, court martial proceedings could be initiated against him. If the army chief determines that there is sufficient ground to start court martial, then the process would begin with the recording of the summary of evidence.

“It is the first stage in the process in which the court would examine the available evidence and find if some wrong has been committed,” a retired military officer explained, adding it was more of an official inquiry.
Military jurisdiction has been exercised over retirees in a variety of countries for the purpose of quelling dissent. Human rights jurisprudence limits the exercise of military jurisdiction to serving personnel.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).