Pakistan: Sacked ex-Defence Secy challenges Gilani

Lodhi earned Gilani`s ire by submitting an affidavit in the apex court that said the Army and ISI were not under the operational control of civilian authorities.

Updated: Jan 13, 2012, 21:50 PM IST

Islamabad: Former Pakistan Defence Secretary
on Friday claimed that he was dismissed after Prime Minister
Yousuf Raza Gilani realised he had made a "big mistake" by
describing the Army Chief`s handling of the memo scandal as
unconstitutional.

Gilani sacked Lt Gen (retired) Khalid Naeem Lodhi, who is
considered to be very close to Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez
Kayani, on Wednesday, accusing him of "gross misconduct and
illegal action" in submitting an affidavit to the Supreme
Court on the alleged memo that had sought US help to stave off
a possible coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin
Laden last year.

The Premier further said Lodhi`s actions had created
misunderstanding between the government and the Army.

Lodhi told the media today that the allegations of
misconduct and creating misunderstanding levelled against him
were "not sustainable and cannot be proved".

He contended that Gilani had sacked him after the premier
realised he had made a "big mistake" by saying that the Army
chief had acted in an unconstitutional manner in his handling
of the memo issue.

Lodhi claimed another reason for his sacking was his
refusal to sign an affidavit that the government wanted to
submit to the apex court.

This affidavit had stated that the memo was a "piece of
paper" and the case in the Supreme Court was not tenable, he
said.
Lodhi earned Gilani`s ire by submitting an affidavit in
the apex court that said the Army and Inter-Services
Intelligence were not under the operational control of
civilian authorities.

Gilani has said Lodhi was sacked after an inquiry
established that he had submitted the affidavit without
getting the Defence Minister`s approval.

But Lodhi told the media: "The Prime Minister did not
give me a reason for my sacking. The Defence Minister was not
present (in Islamabad) when I submitted the affidavit,
otherwise I would have shown it to him.

"The Defence Minister had sought an explanation and I
told him that I regularly respond to orders from the Supreme
Court and High Court. I never ask the Law Division about these
replies, I only ask when I don`t understand the law," he said.

PTI