Military Courts: Government Challenges SC’s Military Trial Verdict

Fri Nov 17 2023
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ISLAMABAD: The government on Friday approached the Supreme Court (SC) with an appeal against the order of a five-member bench that declared the trial of civilians in military courts illegal.

In its intra-court appeal, the Ministry of Defence urged the Supreme Court to revoke the October 23 decision and restore the Official Secrets Act’s sections that were declared illegal by the bench. It also urges the apex court to restore Section 59(4) of the Army Act.

The petition has also warned that declaring some sections of the Official Secrets Act and Army Act illegal would harm the country.

The defence ministry’s plea comes a day after the Shuhada Forum Balochistan and caretaker Sindh government separately requested the apex court to set aside its verdict declaring unconstitutional the trials of civilians in military courts.

The Sindh chief secretary filed an appeal under Section 5 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 against the order passed by the court in the petitions, challenging the trial of civilians in military courts.

The caretaker provincial government requested the apex court to allow its appeal against the October 23 short order.

It further requested to suspend the operation of the short order till the appeal is pending.

Supreme Court’s order

On 23 October, a five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsen and comprising Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Munib Akhtar, and Justice Ayesha A Malik declared the trial of civilians in the military courts as unconstitutional.

It also said that 103 persons and others who may be placed in relation to the events arising from 9 May  and 10 could be tried by criminal courts set up under the ordinary or special law of the land.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and others have approached the apex court against the military trials on the grounds that they lack transparency.

The decision to use military courts was taken by the PDM government, which completed its term in August.




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