As Pak Army Plans Military Trials Of Civilians, Chief Justice Intervenes

Islamabad: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial said that the trial of accused civilians allegedly involved in the May 9 violence should not begin in military courts without informing the Pakistan Supreme Court, local reported said.

He made the remarks as a six-member bench, headed by him and consisting Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha A Malik, resumed hearing a set of pleas challenging the military trials of civilians.

During Friday’s hearing. Latif Khosa, the lawyer for petitioner Aitzaz Ahsan, stated that whatever was happening in the country today had taken place during the tenure of former military dictator Ziaul Haq.

“You can’t compare the present era with the era of Ziaul Haq. This is not Ziaul Haq’s era nor is martial law imposed in the country. Even if a martial law-like situation arises, we will intervene,” Pakistan’s Dawn quoted CJP Bandial as saying.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan further said that the Supreme Court should be informed before military trials of civilians begin.

“The trial of the accused in military court should not begin without informing the SC,” he said.

At the previous hearing, Pakistan’s Supreme Court had provided another opportunity to Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan to seek fresh instructions from the government about the provision of appeal against the sentence to be awarded by military courts to those found guilty of May 9 violence and arson.

The observations came when the AGP said that the Pakistan government was willing to follow any suggestions to improve the process of trial by military courts if the Supreme Court issued directions to ensure the provision of appeal against convictions and that the sentence should be awarded reasons, Pakistan’s Dawn reported.

On May 9, this year, former Pakistan PM Imran Khan was arrested from inside the High Court in Islamabad by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the charges of corruption in connection with the Al-Qadir Trust, which he owns alongside his wife, Bushra Bibi.

Following Imran Khan’s arrest, his party called for demonstrations, which turned violent at many places. The administration resorted to a crackdown and many arrests were made across the country. The civilians accused in the May 9 violence are being tried at military courts.

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