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ISLAMABAD: Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) informed the apex court that 102 people all over the country are in military custody, none of them women or juveniles, and no decision has been taken yet to try women and juveniles in the military courts.

AGP Mansoor Usman Awan further told a seven-judge bench that no journalist or lawyer is in military custody. Scores of rioters were arrested in connection with the May 9 incident, which erupted across the country after the arrest of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief, Imran Khan.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Ayesha A Malik, on Friday, heard the petitions against trials of civilians under Army Act, 1952.

New bench formed: SC seeks details of May 9 violence detained persons

The chief justice hinted that by Tuesday, which is the last working day because of Eid, to declare the result of the instant proceedings. The Court wanted the outcome of the hearing “is simple and not straightaway”.

Former chief justice of Pakistan Jawwad S Khawaja, senior lawyer Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, members of civil society and PTI Chairman Imran Khan have filed petitions under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, asking it to declare that the trials of the civilians, arrested in light of May 9 and 10 violent protests, under the Army Act and Official Secret Act violative of Article 25 of the constitution, until and unless legal and reasonable guidelines are framed to structure the discretion not to arbitrarily try civilians under Army Act.

The bench ordered the advocate generals of Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to appear before the bench on Monday (June 27) in order to apprise about the arrest made and people in custody.

The attorney general submitted a report, according to that, in the Punjab under Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) total 2,258 detention orders were issued against 3,050 people, and out of them, 21 are in jail.

It states that under Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 51 cases were registered and total 1,888 people were arrested. Out of them, 108 are on physical remand and 1,247 in the judicial lock-up. After 33 judicial identification parades, 500 persons were discharged and 232 are on bail.

Under other laws, 247 cases were registered and 4,119 persons were arrested. Out of the total, 86 are on physical remand and 2,464 accused are in judicial lock-up. In total, 368 judicial identification parades, 1,201 persons were discharged, and 3,012 accused are on bail, the report further said.

It also states that a total of 81 women were taken into custody by the police, and out of them, 42 have been released on bail and 39 are in judicial lock-up. He said there is one boy in military court and the authorities are determining his age, if he would be below 18-year-old then he would be released. “Due care has been exercised that no one under 18-year-old be tried,” he said.

The attorney general stated that it is the government policy not to arrest and harass any lawyer and journalist in light of the May 9 incident. He said no person was under the custody of Islamabad Capital Territory. In Sindh, under ATA, 172 persons are in judicial lock-up and 345 people were granted bail, while under MPO 117 persons are in jail.

The chief justice said that the members of the bench strongly feel that both the skilled citizens of the country have a vital role to perform with confidence for the well-being of the society. “The journalists tell the truth,” he said and added that no lawyer should be threatened for taking the case of anyone involved in the May 9 incident.

Justice Bandial said that the temperature (political) in the country needs to be lowered so that things come to normal. He questioned what is the criteria to bring civilians into the net (Army Act), and what is the evidence provided to the judge of the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC).

The chief justice pointed out that matters relating to national security fell under the purview of the army. (The court) Does not want to get into the argument that a civilian can never be tried under the Army Act, he said.

“If a civilian carried out anti-state activities then it is a very serious matter. In such a situation, there can be no distinction between the two,” Justice Bandial said. He further said that the law for Kulbhushan was made after a decision by the International Court of Justice.

Earlier, advocate Faisal Siddiqui, representing members of civil society, contended that he would not challenge the constitutionality of the Army Act and that civilians cannot be tried under the Official Secrets Act in military courts. He also said that he does not want an inquiry into what happened on May 9 and 10.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Tulukan Mairandi Jun 24, 2023 07:04am
The torture they are undergoing daily - no words can describe. It is bonecrushing, skullcracking bodydeforming and mentallydraining.
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KhanRA Jun 24, 2023 09:37am
Real figure is 10 times more at least. Never trust what the Boots say.
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