Ex-Pak military lawyer accuses army of assault over legal challenges

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 18, 2012 07:20 hrs

A retired military lawyer in Pakistan has accused the country's intelligence agencies of assaulting him and his son to force him to abandon legal challenges against the army.

Col Inam-ul-Rahiem alleged that his 19-year-old son was beaten up and his car set ablaze by armed men without any provocation near the army headquarters in Rawalpindi on Saturday. The alleged assault came three days after an attack on Col Rahiem left with him with injuries to his face, head and upper body, reports the BBC.

The Pakistani army has denied the allegations, calling them "baseless".

For the past five years, 57-year-old Col Rahiem has been challenging the army over charges of enforced disappearances. He represents dozens of so-called missing persons who, their families say, are being held by the intelligence agencies.

"The attacks were a message to dissuade me from pursuing court cases against the illegal actions of the army leadership. I have reasons to believe the assaults were carried out by agents of the military intelligence on the orders of the army chief," Col Rahiem said, adding that when he went to the police to report the attack, they refused to register his case.

"Last year, they called me in at the offices of the Military Intelligence and told me to drop cases of enforced disappearances or else, anything could happen to me," he said.

Col Rahiem, who taught military law to officers for 27 years and served as a judge in the legal branch of Pakistan army, said he was retired prematurely when he resisted pressure from the top in deciding court cases before him.

Some have described Col Rahiem as a religiously-minded maverick lawyer.

Last week, he filed a writ petition challenging the validity of the three-year service extension for Army Chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Previous court petitions on the issue had amounted to nothing. But this time, to the surprise of many, the Islamabad High Court admitted the plea.

The matter is now set for hearing by a two-member panel on 22 November. (ANI)

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