Family Of Ex-Military Officer's Son Breaks Silence Over His Imprisonment

Family Of Ex-Military Officer's Son Breaks Silence Over His Imprisonment
The family of Hasan Askari - the son of a former major general of Pakistan Army - has broken silence on the five-year rigorous jail term awarded to him in July 2021.

Askari, a Pakistan-origin Australian national was convicted after he wrote a letter critical of the extension given to then COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa, to him, with its copies sent to several army generals.

"He does not have an immediate family of his own, we have always been his children", Gia Mehdi, Hasan's niece said as she wept during an interview with The Project.

"Everyone in the family was so traumatised and confused," she recalled the moment her uncle was taken away.

Zain Mehdi, Gia's brother, added, "He has been with us in every step of our lives. It was always the five of us...always a team in Sydney."

According to Hasan's sister, Zehra Mehdi, the family was never handed over a charge-sheet for which he had been incarcerated.

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"We just received a piece of paper that said 'five-year imprisonment', with no charges given." According to Zehra, her brother lives in a 24-hour solitary confinement with no access to sunlight.

She added that she has written to the Australian government for at least seven times, but to no avail.

"We have lost hope and I'm scared for my brother's life...and [also] scared that they will do something to us," Zehra concluded.
At the time of the development, BBC Urdu quoted sources in the military as saying that the hearing took place in Gujranwala, and Hasan was moved to a high-security prison in Sahiwal.

Hasan’s father, Zafar Mehdi Askari, later filed a plea with the Lahore High Court, saying that the family was kept in darkness on his whereabouts for several weeks.

The report said when contacted, military sources said that the case fulfilled all legal requirements as per the spirit of the country's Constitution.