Aftermath of Redress of Grievances

This is in continuation of my previous post. As I have mentioned that it was the most stressful event of my life. I pointed this incident to the psychiatrist but he did not show any further interest and told me that I was not doing my duties properly. This incident happened in end 2003, in the holy month of Ramadan. As the event began to unfold, I explained the situation to my technical Commanding Officer. He immediately replied, ‘You start preparing redress of grievances against your CO.’ I submitted the redress of grievances after about two weeks while the so called court of inquiry was in progress.

A clerk showed me the complete court of inquiry when my redress of grievances was under process. This incident shows where the sympathies of the under command lied in the tussle between CO (Lt Col) and OC LAD (Capt). I submitted a fairly detailed statement to prove that I was present and man handling did take place. All the officers who were present were unanimous that I was not present at the scene of incident and no man handling ever took place. I was asked 81 questions and the NCO who was man handled 67 questions while the officer who man handled was asked only 35 questions. The court opinioned that I and the said NCO had lied about my presence. It recommended disciplinary action against the said NCO on 3 points and against me on 5 points. It also recommended that the officer be warned for removing the name plate ‘gently’.

I submitted the redress of grievance to the Commanding Officer. He added his own remarks and forwarded it to the Corps Headquarters for consideration by the Corp Commander Lt Gen  Shahid Hamid. In remarks he mainly raised points on my competency by twisting the serviceability statistics of aircraft. After Eid-ul-Fitr I started anticipating a response from Corps Headquarters/Commander. According to rules a ‘redress of grievances’ should be addressed in 7 days. For a month there was no response or even a simple acknowledgment letter. In desperation, I asked for an interview of the Corps Commander. No response yet. In meantime a so called well-wisher of mine came on behest of CO. He made the point that Corps Commander, in maximum, will order another court of inquiry and the same officers will give the same statements. He pointed out that in Army it was the rank and number of witnesses that count and in end I would suffer. I reluctantly agreed to his point of view. I asked for withdrawal of my redress of grievances. It proved to be a costly blunder that was cashed even by Corps Commander Lat Gen Shahid Hamid.

Shortly after my withdrawal letter, I was called by the Corps Commander for interview. I did not prepare any points specific to interview. The Corps Commander had quite a heavy file of my case. The Corps Commander pointed out that there were not serious reservations as I had asked for withdrawal of redress of grievances. Then he raised points on my competency vis-à-vis serviceability of aircraft. I sought permission to say something but that was denied out rightly with a forceful ‘No’. Then he told me that the orders for games were legal. I pointed out that I did not disobey any orders and that they were discriminative. He did not ask anything about the court of inquiry and asked me about the incident casually. Then I was asked to leave the office.

After the interview I waited for the outcome. Meanwhile I got an ‘average’ OER (Officer’s Efficiency Report), as expected from the CO. Then I went for a course to PAF Base Masroor. There I received a ‘warning’ letter from Corps Commander. This proved to be a terrible blow. My Eid-ul-Adha leaves were spent wondering whether I deserved that or not. The warning letter was a masterpiece of hypocrisy, according to me. It held that I asked for withdrawal of redress of grievances as ‘a later thought’. Whereas that thought came after not receiving any feedback for over a month. In one sentence it held that I had put serious allegations against the CO, whereas in other it held that allegations were ‘not serious enough to merit’ a redress and that I failed to justify them. He advised me to obey all ‘legal’ orders in future, whereas I disobeyed none. My technical CO labeled the warning letters just as a caution. Later I came to realize that it was an ‘Army Way’. You can not be applauded for standing up to your superiors. I can also speculate that the CO also had his share as I observed him to be a little depressed after this episode. However I am convinced that the Corps Commander Lat Gen Shahid Hamid did not take the redress at its face value.

This episode had very grave consequences for me. Though I did not develop serious delusions at that point, yet it triggered the initial onset of the disease. I started anticipating different scenarios with respect to the outcome. Most of time, they turned out to be wrong. I even thought of approaching COAS for a while. Moreover my thoughts regarding religion underwent a radical change. The incident happened during the holy month of Ramadan. The CO had a beard and used to offer prayers regularly. I started offering prayers in the room alone. I started thinking that the beards, fasts and prayers are just an eye-wash. The officer made the point in the statement that he was speaking the truth as he was fasting. I did not make use of any such fact. You are supposed to speak the truth in every season. Why other officers joined their forces to teach me a lesson? I started thinking that there were infidels in disguise among us. I also started thinking that there were some sort of grouping within the Army.

As I mentioned earlier I got an average OER for the year 2003. That proved to be my last OER. I did not get the OER for year 2004 though it was due in early 2005. I even demanded it but got an unclear reply. I came to know that my redress of grievances was investigated by intelligence agencies. There was nothing of that sort in my complaint. The Col Adm in the Corps Headquarters grilled me heavily on personal/family matters. The Corps Commander did not ask a single question about that. The CO in his remarks had written that I was under pressure since coming back from recent leave and referred to the psychiatrist. I came to actual fact about a year later. People had purposefully fabricated stories and opinions about my character. This was to do with my personal front that I will discuss in next post.

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