Lodhi sacked in `national interest`: Pak govt

The Pakistan government has rejected former Defence Secretary`s claim that he was sacked on charges of misconduct without being given a hearing.

Islamabad: The Pakistan government has
rejected former Defence Secretary Lt Gen (retired) Khalid
Naeem Lodhi`s claim that he was sacked on charges of
misconduct without being given a hearing, saying he had been
fired in the "national interest".

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani sacked Lodhi,
considered to be very close to army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez
Kayani, on Wednesday for submitting an affidavit on the
Memogate scandal to the Supreme Court without getting the
approval of the Defence Minister.
Gilani accused Lodhi of "gross misconduct" and said his
actions had caused "misunderstanding between state
institutions". Lodhi yesterday questioned his sacking, saying
no inquiry was conducted and that he was given no chance to
explain his position.

However, a spokesman for the Establishment Division said
Lodhi sent letters to the Supreme Court without seeking
approval of the Defence Minister, which was mandatory, and
without getting his comments vetted by the Law Ministry as
required under the Rules of Business of 1973.

The spokesman said the Defence Minister had sought an
explanation from Lodhi for "not observing legal provisions".
Lodhi said in his reply that he was new to the job and
was ignorant of the rules, the spokesman said.

The Defence Minister referred the matter to the Law
Ministry after receiving the Defence Secretary’s explanation.
The Law Ministry said Lodhi`s action was in "utter and gross
violation" of the mandatory rules and had created
"misunderstandings among the institutions", the spokesman

On the recommendation of the Law Ministry and the Defence
Minister, the Prime Minister terminated Lodhi`s contract in
the national interest.

The spokesman said Lodhi was a contract employee and his
service could be terminated without assigning any reason with
a prior notice of 30 days or payment of a month`s salary.

Significantly, Lodhi spoke to the media yesterday about
his plans to approach court over his sacking after a meeting
with Gen Kayani.

"I have done nothing wrong. My reply in the Supreme Court
on the memo case was in line with the rules of business," he

Lodhi confirmed to The Express Tribune that he had met
Kayani but insisted it had nothing to do with his decision to
approach the court.

"I was his (Kayani`s) corps commander and I meet him
regularly," he said.

Asked about Kayani`s reaction, Lodhi said: "He expressed
his disappointment over my sacking."

Lodhi, who retired as the corps commander of Bahawalpur
last year, has reportedly been encouraged by the military top
brass to challenge his sacking in court.

Lodhi earned Prime Minister Gilani`s ire because he
stated in his affidavit filed in the apex court that the
government had no "operational control" over the army and the
Inter-Services Intelligence agency.


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