IHC dismisses army’s
case against Imaan Mazari
after she regrets remarks
against military leadership

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday accepted lawyer Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir’s petition to dismiss a case filed against her by the Pakistan Army for allegedly “abusing and defaming the senior command” of the institution after she expressed “regret” over her words.

Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, who heard the petition, remarked during the hearing that Mazari-Hazir was a respectable officer of the court and should not have uttered the words even under “normal circumstances”.

A first information report (FIR) was registered against Mazari-Hazir on May 26 at the capital’s Ramna police station on the complaint of Lt Colonel Syed Humayun Iftikhtar, who was representing the Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch of the General Headquarters (GHQ).

The JAG branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces is composed of the military’s senior officers, lawyers and judges who provide legal services to the army, air force, navy, and marines at all levels of command. It falls under the law directorate of the army.

She had been booked under sections 505 (inciting people against armed forces) and 138 (abetment of act of insubordination by soldier) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The FIR said that Mazari-Hazir had made a “derogatory and hateful” statement on May 21, the day her mother, former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, was arrested from outside her house in a land ownership and transfer case.

Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Justice Athar Minallah

After her mother’s arrest, a video of a visibly distraught Mazari-Hazir was shared on social media in which she could be seen making statements about Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Following the registration of the FIR against her, Mazari-Hazir had approached the IHC, stating in her petition that the “FIR is ill-founded and allegations are absurd”.

During the hearing today, Mazari-Hazir’s lawyer, Advocate Zainab Janjua, said her client had appeared for every interrogation on the court’s order.

Two police cars had come to Mazari-Hazir’s house on Sunday night to deliver the notice, she informed the court. “We requested the investigation officer to tell us what the allegations are. Our request was dismissed and we were shown the video [of Mazari-Hazir’s remarks].”

Janjua said she had submitted a detailed reply to police the same day. “We accepted it previously that the video is [original] and we accept it today as well.”

Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir

The counsel further said that her client had expressed “regret” over her words and accepted that “what happened should not have happened”.

“If the petitioner asks for forgiveness, what is left in the case?” he questioned.

However, the counsel for the JAG branch argued that the word forgiveness was not mentioned even once in the reply submitted by Mazari-Hazir. “If she has to apologise, she should do so in front of the media,” he added.

Subsequently, the court accepted Mazari-Hazir’s petition and dismissed the case against her.

The police report against the lawyer alleges she had made a “derogatory and hateful” statement on May 21, the day her mother former human rights minister Shireen Mazari was arrested from outside her house in a land ownership and transfer case.

A video of a visibly distraught Mazari-Hazir was later shared on social media in which she is heard accusing Bajwa of being behind her mother’s arrest. She did not offer support for her allegations against Bajwa. The video of her outburst went viral on social media.

Her mother, who served as a human rights minister in the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, was detained over a land-grabbing allegation from decades ago. She was released hours later, after a court decided she was arrested in violation of a law stipulating that no lawmaker can be detained without permission from the parliament speaker.