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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and family members of the prisoners demanded Supreme Court of Pakistan immediately form a larger bench to hear the cases of civilians held in military custody to ensure their earliest release as civilians’ trials in military courts is blatant violation of the constitution.

Speaking at a presser, PTI information secretary Raoof Hasan, Barrister Abuzar Salman Niazi, MNA Ali Muhammad, ex-chief minister Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khursheed, and family members of the civilians who are in military custody, said that the civilians detained under the guise of May 9 incidents are facing military trials for the last over one year, which is a blatant violation of law.

He said that the majority of the detainees were well-educated and sole bread earners of their respective families but they were unjustly implicated in false and fabricated cases, which seemed nothing but a war of ego.

Ali Muhammad said that all legal fraternity irrespective of political affiliation were unanimous on the point that civilian trials in military courts were unconstitutional and unlawful because they limited the sources of fair trials and justice, which one could get in the civil courts.

He demanded Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa form a larger bench to decide whether cases of these prisoners could have been tried in the military courts in order to ensure the early release of these patriotic citizens so that they could serve the country because decisions had already been given against some detainees.

He made it clear that PTI was a peaceful political force as it never thought of violent protests, as neither PTI nor the incarcerated PTI supporters have any link with terrorists, adding that they firmly stood with these illegally detained citizens and their families come what may because they are patriotic Pakistanis.

Therefore, he pressed that the State should treat them with sympathy and pay serious attention to their issue because they are not terrorists.

Barrister Abuzar Salman Niazi categorically stated that the military courts are unconstitutional as it was violative to Article 175 of the constitution as the same institution was working as judge, jury and executive so how it could do justice?

He asserted that the civilians should be tried in a civilian court that was the reason the concept of separation was given in the constitution or else it would lead to a constitutional crisis.

He stated that the names of a five-member SC bench — comprising Justices Ijazul Ahsan, Munib Akhtar, Yahya Afridi, Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Ayesha Malik, who had unanimously declared that trying the accused civilians in military courts was ultra vires the Constitution, would be remembered in golden words in history.

He pointed out that the incumbent CJP’s legacy was questionable due to his decision to deprive PTI of its electoral symbol “bat” and added that if he wanted to celebrate his legacy, he must have to sit in the larger bench.

Sidra Murtaza, whose brother was in military custody, urged CJP and the army chief to meet them as they were patriotic Pakistanis and were detained under some misunderstanding as they did no wrong because the country’s constitution guaranteed its citizens the right to a peaceful protest.

The family members were of the view that their loved ones should be tried in civilian courts and must be given a full chance of fair trial, as in the military courts they were being subjected to mental torture to make them patients because they were deprived of all their rights as prisoners.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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