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Pakistan

SC declares military trials of civilians null, void

  • Five-member SC bench announces reserved verdict
Published October 23, 2023

The Supreme Court (SC) declared on Monday the military trials of civilians who were arrested following former prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest in May null and void.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan led the bench that included Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha Malik.

Presenting his arguments, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman said he would explain to the bench why a constitutional amendment was necessary to form military courts in 2015 to try the terrorists.

He said that if the accused had a “direct link” to the armed forces, then a constitutional amendment was not required. Awan further said that the suspects would be tried under Section 2(1)(d)(ii) of the Official Secrets Act.

In the last hearing, Awan informed the court that the military’s top officials and the government are seriously considering providing appeal against the verdict of the military court (MC) to the level of high court.

Govt files plea

On Sunday, the federal government filed a miscellaneous petition in the SC, informing the apex court about the commencement of the civilians’ trial in military courts.

The federal government’s plea told the court that as many as 102 people had been arrested on the charge of being involved in May 9 and 10 events.

“The trial has been started in military courts to provide justice to the arrested persons. The trial is being conducted keeping in view the interest of the detainees,” the petition said.

The petition was filed after the SC had fixed today to hear the case.

Last week, petitioner Junaid Razzaq, father of Arzam Junaid, who is in military custody, approached the apex court to expedite the hearing of the case, stating that the military court trials had already begun, and requested that the case be scheduled for the third week of October.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has lauded constitution of the bench by SC to take up the case.

PTI spokesman Raoof Hasan regretted that trials of civilians in military courts had begun despite assurance by AGP to the apex courts that no civilian would be tried in military courts.

“The trials of civilians in military court despite assurance by the AGP to the top court is a clear deviation from the constitution,” he regretted.

He expressed optimism that the bench would also take notice of the civilians’ trial in military courts, adding there was a need to immediately halt such trials as it was a brazen violation of the constitution.

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 the May 9 and 10 protests under the Army Act and Official Secrets Act are in violation 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.

Comments

Comments are closed.

Johnny Walker Oct 23, 2023 02:28pm
Too late. Trials had already started.
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Tulukan Mairandi Oct 23, 2023 03:51pm
Too late. As we speak Imran is having his nails plucked out
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Notsurprised Oct 23, 2023 04:02pm
These shameless sold-out youthia judges are a cancer in the Supreme Court and need to be removed. Start the SJC proceedings. There is plenty of dirt on them; some are openly corrupt, some incompetent, some came out of merit and are beholden. We need upright and learned judges desperately. Not these peons.
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Zubair Hameed Oct 23, 2023 04:28pm
Only to be overturned by Qazi CJ in the appeal.. That's why he didn't include himself in first bench!
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Robin Mitha Oct 23, 2023 04:41pm
In principal no civilian should face a military trial. All civilians should be tried in civilian courts with all the rights granted under the constitution. The court has apparently given a bold verdict lets see what happens next.
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Shaista Zaidi Oct 23, 2023 05:18pm
No one trusts the judiciary and overall system
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Parvez Oct 23, 2023 05:24pm
Good decision.....legally sound, in principle sound and makes sense to the average thinking person. A bit late in the day but the SC has won back a speck of the respect they have squandered over the recent past.
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Moazzam Javed Oct 23, 2023 07:55pm
No civilian should be trial in military courts,
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TheActualTruth Oct 23, 2023 09:29pm
@Notsurprised, Which upright and learned judge anywhere in the world would give verdict in favor of civilian trial in military courts? Or maybe you don't even have the intellect to understand this concept, you have already shown you have no decency.
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Shahid Oct 23, 2023 10:11pm
@Johnny Walker, Kindly read again "military trials of civilians declared null and void", not sure where is the ambiguity in wording. It is another matter how this is twisted later by the all power established rulers.
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KU Oct 23, 2023 10:30pm
Right decision. It will be too late for those who support civilian trials by military courts, the precedent will haunt the gangs of power in the coming time.
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JAFAR Oct 23, 2023 11:22pm
There is no logic in trying the civilians in the Military Courts. It's mockery of the laws of the land. If civilians have to be tried in MC's then all civil courts including the SC should be closed, permanently. Politicians who are supporting the notion of trying civilians in the MC's must be punished in the next election.
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Mian Sanp for CJ of PAK Oct 24, 2023 12:01am
@Notsurprised, ap kaheen to mian Sanp ko CJ laga daytay hain
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E Oct 24, 2023 04:38pm
@Tulukan Mairandi, no he is not stop worrying. Even his single would not be hurt.
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Ghareeb Awam Oct 24, 2023 07:58pm
Great! Hopefully the decision will not overturned at a later stage. There should be an end to high-handedness.
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