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ISLAMABAD: Justice Sardar Tariq Masood recused from a larger bench which was hearing the appeals against the Supreme Court judgment on military courts, saying its order on the suspension of military courts will continue.

A six-judge bench, headed by Justice Tariq Masood, and comprising Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Mussarat Hilali and Justice Irfan Saadat, on Monday resumed the hearing of appeals.

Former CJP Jawad S Khawaja’s lawyer informed the bench about the filing of an application for the recusal of Justice Tariq. The bench then sent the file to the Committee, set up under the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, for reconstitution of the bench.

The bench, however, said its judgment on the suspension of military courts will continue, and adjourned the hearing, which will be fixed after the general elections 2024.

Aitzaz Ahsan earlier, via video link from Lahore Registry, informed that advocates, Salman Akram Raja and Sardar Latif Khosa have applied for the general adjournment as they are contesting the elections. He requested that the case be fixed after the elections.

The six-member bench on December 13, 2023 had suspended the order of its five-judge bench, which had stayed the trials of civilians by military courts.

A five-member larger bench, headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Ayesha A Malik on 23-10-23 declared that military trials of the civilians for their alleged role in attacks on army installations during the riots that followed ex-premier Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9 unconstitutional, illegal and of no legal effect.

It by a majority of 4-1 declared that clause (d) of subsection (1) of Section 2 of the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 (in both of its sub-clauses (i) and (ii)) and subsection (4) of Section 59 of the said Act are ultra vires the Constitution and of no legal effect. The bench had also emphasized that the cases of the suspects involved in the vandalism would proceed before criminal courts.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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