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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani has opposed the trial of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protesters under the Army Act for attacking defence installations and damaging public properties following the party chief Imran Khan's arrest in a graft case on May 9.

He said in a statement on Wednesday, “...no leniency should be shown towards those who attacked, burnt and looted public and defence installations under a political agenda,”

His statement comes a day after the high-powered National Security Committee (NSC) endorsed the Corps Commander Conference's decision to hold the trial of arsonists under the Army Act, Official Secrets Act, and other concerned laws under the Constitution.

Senator Rabbani said a criminal justice system was present with special anti-terrorist laws and courts. “Being civilians the planners, abettors and attackers should be tried under this system.”

He said civilians must not be tried under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, as such trials would raise the question of transparency and draw the debate in a direction that will generate sympathy.

The PPP leader further said it was against the fundamental rights in the Constitution and added that this had been his constant position on this issue.

Such trials of arson and burning under the Army Act, 1952, will be challenged before the superior courts and are likely to be found not in accordance with law, he added.

Referring to the establishment of military courts to try terrorists, the senator said a one-time amendment was made by Parliament in 2015, which was also not a correct decision but that too has lapsed.

He urged the coalition government to rethink the question of the trial of civilians under the Army Act, but not let up on awarding the strictest sentences under the criminal justice system.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Raja Atif Azad May 18, 2023 07:54am
What Rabbani is saying is correct , but he is underestimating the forces working against the country. Justice can only be done through Army Act with present CJP as he is not justifying his act saying "Good to see you to the person accused in taking bribe".
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Parvez May 18, 2023 03:56pm
@Raja Atif Azad, The same SC CJ. said words to the effect " It's good to see a young face with a smile " .... when Bilawal Bhutto Zardari came to court. Why have you conveniently forgotten that.
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Haris May 19, 2023 08:28am
In the era of hyper infotainment and big data, you cannot fool the masses with empty slogans of patriotism and hard nationalism unless you appeal through constitution, the same constitution PDM and handlers have tossed into garbage dump by not giving Punjab and Kpk free and fair elections under 1973 constitution. And Army Act is by no means alternative to constitution.
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