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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Inquiry Clears Gen (rtd) Faiz Hameed in Faizabad Sit-in

During the investigation, it was revealed that Hamid, who was leading ISI's counter intelligence wing at the time of the protest, had been given permission by the then-army chief and ISI director general to sign an agreement as an arbitrator.

The inquiry commission tasked with investigating the Faizabad dharna case has exonerated former Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) director general Lieutenant General (retd) Faiz Hamid and former Punjab Rangers director general Major General (retd) Azhar Naveed Hayat, according to a report from The News.

The commission, established on the Supreme Court’s orders following the 2017 sit-in at Faizabad led by former Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, found no evidence to support allegations of distributing money among participants of the protest against either former military officer.

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During the investigation, it was revealed that Hamid, who was leading ISI’s counter intelligence wing at the time of the protest, had been given permission by the then-army chief and ISI director general to sign an agreement as an arbitrator. Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal had also agreed to the signing of the accord by Hamid on November 25, 2017, leading to the dispersal of the demonstrators.

The commission, headed by former officer of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Dr Akhtar Ali Shah and including senior PAS official Khushhal Khan and former inspector general Tahir Alam, recommended legal action against individuals based on findings from the federal government and Punjab. Additionally, it suggested restoring cases against the TLP during the dharna.

The report, spanning 149 pages, includes statements from various individuals such as Abbasi, Shehbaz Sharif, Iqbal, current IB head Fawad Asadullah, former ISI chief Hamid, ex-Intelligence Bureau chief Aftab Sultan, ex-Punjab IG Arif Nawaz, and former Punjab Rangers DG Maj Gen (retd) Azhar Naveed.

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The commission emphasized the need for legislation regarding intelligence services and recommended assigning the Intelligence Bureau (IB) primary responsibility for internal security. It also proposed action against then-Punjab IG Arif Nawaz for providing false information to the panel.

The report attributed responsibility for the sit-in to the former Punjab government and suggested legal action against those responsible for failing to take action against the demonstrators. It advised against reaching deals with “terrorists” and recommended finding long-term solutions to such issues.

Furthermore, the commission recommended reshuffling the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Council of Complaints, imposing penalties on channels broadcasting violent and inflammatory content, and creating a special riot squad for Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

The report also addressed issues related to former law minister Zahid Hamid and highlighted the importance of reviewing shortcomings in the police’s command and control system. It emphasized the government’s responsibility in maintaining law and order and proposed a zero-tolerance policy towards violent extremism.