Military courts trial: SC likely to announce verdict on Tuesday
A report by ARY News suggests that the Supreme Court (SC) is likely to announce a verdict on Tuesday on pleas challenging the trials of civilians in military courts.
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After a nine-member bench was dissolved after Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Tariq Masood recused themselves from the hearing, a seven-member bench is hearing a set of petitions against military trials — comprising Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Ayesha Malik, and Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi.
It is our desire to get the results by Tuesday, CJP said during the hearing. The apex court also directed journalists and lawyers not to harass each other. The issue does not warrant a judicial order.”
CJP Bandial noted during the hearing that the army can ask the anti-terrorism courts to take custody of civilians for their trial under military law.
As a matter of common sense, crimes under the Official Secrets Act should be determined by the army itself, which can request anti-terrorism courts to take civilians into custody for trials under army law.
Despite this, he noted that the military did not provide solid reasons. The Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan will answer this question.
9:30 a.m. has been set for Monday for the next hearing in the case.
A report by the Punjab government
In response to the May 9 riots, the Punjab government filed a report with the SC regarding the arrest of suspects ‘involved’.
During the hearing of petitions challenging civilian trials in military court, the top court asked for details from the authorities.
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During the violence on May 9, 6,088 people, including 81 women, were arrested, according to the Punjab AG’s report.
According to the report, 1,888 people were arrested under the Terrorism Act during the May 9 riots. On judicial remand, 1,247 accused are on physical remand. The investigation resulted in the release of up to 500 innocent people.
The hearing of the new 7-member SC bench has been adjourned
According to the report, 247 cases have been filed under other laws against the accused involved in the May 9 incidents. So far, 1,201 have been acquitted, while 3012 have been released on bail.
A report on female arrests in the May 9 riots was also submitted by the Punjab government. 81 women have been detained, 42 have been released on bail, and 39 are being held on judicial remand.
The 9-member bench has been dissolved
The appeals were heard by a larger bench of nine members headed by CJP Bandial on Thursday. As a result of objections from Justices Qazi Faez Isa and Tariq Masood, the bench was dissolved.
After seeing his name on the cause list last night, Justice Qazi Faez said he was surprised. An eight-member bench of the Supreme Court suspended the SC Practices and Procedure Bill even before it became law, according to the senior-most judge after the CJP.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa said that a circular issued by the SC registrar scrapped the judgment passed by my bench on March 5.
It was unclear to him if this was the importance of the apex court’s decision.
Qazi Faez Isa said he cannot remain on the bench since he doesn’t consider it a ‘bench’. I won’t be part of any bench until the Supreme Court Practices and Procedure Bill is decided, he said.
Aitzaz Ahsan, Karamat Ali, and the chairman of the PTI have filed petitions against military courts.
He asked the Supreme Court (SC) to declare the trial of civilians in military courts ‘unconstitutional’, challenging it in the Supreme Court (CJP).
Respondents in the case included the Federal Government through its secretaries of law and justice, interior, defence, and chief secretaries of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Balochistan.
In his plea, CJP Jawwad Khawaja argued that civilians should not be tried by military courts in the presence of civilian courts. A court martial is appropriate and lawful only for officers in the armed forces, according to the argument.
According to the plea, “any proceedings against civilians on the basis of the impugned sections must be declared unlawful”. In its request, the court directed that such civilians be transferred to the competent civilian authorities for appropriate criminal proceedings.
A similar petition was filed by Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan against military court trials of civilians.