Pakistan

Military trials: SC adjourns hearing till Friday

  • Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman says incidents of May 9 had caused losses of Rs2.5 billion
Published July 19, 2023

The Supreme Court (SC) bench adjourned on Wednesday hearing a set of pleas challenging the military trials of civilians till Friday.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and consisting Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha A. Malik took up the case.

As the hearing resumed, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman came to the rostrum to continue his arguments. He said that the violent incidents of May 9 had caused losses of Rs2.5 billion.

“The events of May 9 did not happen suddenly, they were carried out in a systematic manner,” the AGP said.

He again requested for a full court bench to hear the pleas against military trials of civilians.

Later, the bench adjourned the hearing till Friday, giving the AGP two days to get directives from the government regarding whether a right of appeal would be given or not.

During the previous hearing, the bench rejected the government’s request to form a full court bench, with the CJP saying, “It is not possible to form a full court. Some judges are not available in Islamabad, and some have recused themselves.”

During the hearing, the chief justice, highlighting the constitutional protection of the civilians, observed that the military courts hold summary trials, do not record the evidence in the open court, and issue reasons in their judgments.

However, he conceded that May 9 incidents were of a serious nature.

Background

Former chief justice of Pakistan Jawwad S Khawaja, senior lawyer Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, and the members of civil society have filed petitions under Article 184 (3) of the constitution before the apex court, 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 Secrets Act are 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 the Army Act.

On May 9, following arrest of the PTI chief from the premises of Islamabad High Court (IHC), PTI supporters thronged the streets in protest.

The protesters damaged several military and state installations, including the Corps Commander’s residence (Jinnah House) in Lahore and the gates of the military’s General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

Internet services were suspended for four days and access to social media was hindered for days after.

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Shahid Khan Jul 19, 2023 03:15pm
Where the world is heading and what are we doing to our country? Is there anyone listening? Can someone understand all this? People are no more fool.. yes they may be afraid but not fool
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