IHC dismisses plea to elevate Gen Raheel as field marshal

ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court yesterday turned down a writ petition seeking directions for the federal government to elevate Army Chief General Raheel Sharif to the rank of field marshal.

Mr Justice Aamer Farooq of the Islamabad High Court announced the verdict which he had reserved earlier in this matter.

In its verdict, the court observed there was no post of field marshal in the Constitution of Pakistan. Moreover, a court cannot direct legislature to form a new law.

The petition was moved by Rawalpindi-based lawyer Sardar Adnan Saleem Khan Mazari advocate, praying to the court to direct the federal government to elevate General Raheel as field marshall in recognition of his services for safeguarding the frontiers of Pakistan in accordance with the National Action Plan (NAP) and successful operation Zarb-e-Azb in an effective and efficient manner against terrorism and extremism.

The petitioner moved the court through his counsel, Raja Saim-ul-Haq Satti and nominated the federal government, making the Cabinet Division secretary, the prime minister and the defence secretary respondents.

He contended the exemplary, outstanding and professional performance shown by the chief of army staff during peace and war with total dedication and devotion needs national appreciation, reward and recognition.

Sardar Saleem argued in his petition that in the Constitution there was no mention of tenure/period of a COAS. Mentioning family background and experience of General Raheel Sharif, he said the incumbent COAS hails from a great family with military background. His father was a major in the army. His elder brother Major Shabbir Sharif and maternal uncle Major Aziz Bhatti received the highest gallantry awards of Nishan-e-Haider.

He added this family has a history of sacrifice and dedication to the country, having high level of patriotic sense and responsibility.

The counsel for the petitioner stated General Raheel Sharif had great experience of commanding military. After graduation from Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), he was commissioned in the Frontier Force Regiment in which his elder brother was also commissioned. As a young officer, he performed his duties in Gilgit in an infantry brigade, served as an adjutant of PMA and commanded the 11th Infantry Division in Lahore. As a brigadier, he commanded two infantry brigades, including an independent infantry brigade group. As a lieutenant general, he served as a corps commander for two years before taking over as inspector general (training and evaluation). In this capacity, he oversaw the training of Pakistan Army.

He continued that General Raheel Sharif has also been awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest award and honour which is given to both civilians and military officers of the Pakistan armed forces.

The counsel said he submitted a number of applications to the respondents before filing this writ petition, but to no avail.

He maintained that General Raheel Sharif has provided visionary leadership to the people of Pakistan and security forces by setting an example as a role model for others and giving a new direction and hope to the nation.

He successfully initiated operation Zarb-e-Azb by countering nefarious designs of terrorist organizations with proactive and prudent approach and the same is still going on and has yet to be completed.

Raja Saim said General Raheel initiated and formulated NAP for safeguarding the frontiers of Pakistan. Furthermore, Pakistan Army, under the leadership of General Raheel Sharif, has also taken responsibility to protect CPEC.

 which is important for Pakistan while many negatives forces are creating hurdles to the project.

He prayed to the court to direct the respondents to elevate General Raheel Sharif to the rank of field marshall in the greater national interest.

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