Supreme Court rejects appeals of two army colonels jailed for overthrowing Benazir govt
By News Desk
September 12, 2023 12:40 PM
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected appeals of two former army officers who were awarded jail sentences after convicted of involvement in conspiracy to overthrow the Benazir Bhutto government in 1995, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Upholding the jail sentences, apex court’s Justice Munib Akhtar read out the judgment reserved on February 15, 2022, dismissing the appeals of Colonel (retd) Azad Minhas and Colonel (retd) Inayatullah Khan.
Both officers had moved the Supreme Court in 2016 after the Lahore High Court had rejected their pleas against the decision of the Field Court Martial which sentenced Colonel Minhas to two years and Colonel Inayatullah to four years in jail. The Field Court Martial also ordered their removal from service.
A three-judge SC bench comprising Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Sayyed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi had reserved judgement on Feb 15, 2022 after hearing Additional Attorney General (AAG) Sajid Ilyas Bhatti as well as both colonels.
Both the army officers were arrested along with retired Maj-Gen Zaheerul Islam Abbasi, now deceased, and Brig Mustansir Billah on Sept 26, 1995 on charges of plotting to storm a meeting of corps commanders scheduled to be held on Sept 30 that year at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
The “conspirators” planned to assassinate then prime minister Benazir Bhutto and army chief Gen Abdul Waheed Kakar, senior cabinet ministers and military chiefs, besides proclamation of the Islamic system of Khilafat with Maj-Gen Abbasi as amir.
According to media reports, the details of the conspiracy were revealed after Qari Saifullah Akhtar, one of the conspirators and chief of his breakaway faction Harkat-ul-Jihad al Islami, turned an “approver”.
On the basis of his testimony, the FGCM had sentenced Maj-Gen Abbasi to seven years and Brig Billah to 14 years in jail.
Reporter Amanat Gishkori