Saturday, September 23, 2023

Military trial case: Full court will be formed or not? The Supreme Court reserved the decision

ISLAMABAD: The military courts are hearing the petitions filed in the Supreme Court against the trial of civilians under the Army Act.

A 6-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Atta Bandial comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Syed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha A. Malik is hearing the said petitions.

At the beginning of the hearing, Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan came to the rostrum, the Chief Justice remarked that Faisal Siddiqui has demanded a full court on the issue of military courts, we will hear the lawyer of Jawad S. Khawaja.

Jawad S Khawaja’s lawyer said that my client is a former Chief Justice, my client’s direction is that the court should treat me like a common citizen instead of special treatment, he wants that Chief Justice should not be attached to his name.

On this, Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandyal remarked that we respect him for this reason, former Chief Justice Jawad S. Khawaja is a humble person, his constitutional petition is non-political.

He inquired whether Faisal Siddiqui is hiding. Lawyer Shah Faisal said that Faisal Siddiqui is outside the court room, he will come later.

Justice Mazahir Naqvi remarked that the law does not allow ‘pick and choose’, if an inquiry is made, why is it not on record?

The Attorney General replied that there was no ‘pick and choose’, great care was taken, only those who were directly involved were sent to military courts, those who entered the Corps Commander’s House were sent to military courts.

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The Chief Justice remarked that if there is content on a forum, it will be known whether your claim is correct or not.

The Attorney General said that the question of the court is why other people were released, many people were involved but in the light of evidence, people were arrested.

Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi inquired that if any inquiry has taken place, why is it not on record? The Attorney General replied that the inquiry is on record sir.

The Chief Justice inquired that you want to say that only those persons who damaged military installations have been detained? The Attorney General replied that those who damaged the Corps Commander’s House have also been arrested.

The list of 102 accused in custody was presented in the court
During the hearing, the Attorney General presented the list of 102 suspects involved in the May 9 incidents in the custody of the army.

The Attorney General told the court that 7 accused were involved in GHQ attack, 4 accused attacked Army Institute, 28 accused attacked Corps Commander House Lahore, 5 accused Multan, 10 accused Gujranwala garrison attack. There are 8 ISI Office Faisalabad, 5 accused involved in PF Base Mianwali attack, 14 involved in Machkadara attack, 7 accused in Punjab Regiment Center Mardan attack, 3 accused in Abbottabad, 10 accused involved in Bannu Garrison attack. An accused ISI is involved in the Hamza camp attack.

The Attorney General informed the court that the arrested suspects were arrested on the basis of CCTV footage and other evidences, the report on the detainees facing military trial has been submitted, the written reply has the complete chart. As to how many military installations were targeted, only 102 people were arrested, very cautiously.

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The Chief Justice inquired that the government wants to court martial these 102 people?

Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi inquired what procedure has been adopted to arrest the persons, the Attorney General replied that we have detained the persons in the light of CCTV footage and evidence, entered the Corps Commander House Lahore. The accused have been detained.

Justice Ayesha Malik remarked that the magistrate’s order does not mention the reasons for sending the accused to military courts.

Justice Mazahir Naqvi remarked that it seems that only photographs are in the name of material against the accused.

The Chief Justice spoke to the Attorney General that it seems you are not fully prepared on these questions, we do not have the matter before us yet, we have to look at the constitutionality of the matter.

The Chief Justice further remarked that lawyer Faisal Siddiqui has given an application on behalf of his client to the full court, we will hear Faisal Siddiqui first.

Arguments on the composition of the Full Court Bench
Meanwhile, Faisal Siddiqui, while starting the arguments on the request to constitute a full court bench, said that our request is not related to the objections raised by the government on the bench, first I will clarify why our request is separate. .

Faisal Siddiqui further said that we have given 3 reasons for forming the full court, even military dictator Pervez Musharraf could not oppose the decision of the full court, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi also talked about forming the full court. The Attorney General has said that no person will be sentenced to death or life imprisonment, the Attorney General has also assured that a military trial will not be started without the knowledge of the court.

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Faisal Siddiqui said that politicians and ministers raised questions on the legitimacy of court decisions, when there is a risk of conflict between institutions, a full court should be formed.

The Chief Justice inquired that if some judges had excused themselves from hearing the case, how could they make a full court?

On this, Faisal Siddiqui said that the answer is in the FB Ali case, the Supreme Court has declared in a decision that if a judge refuses to hear a case, he cannot be asked to hear that case. Courts cases are heard by full court only, Govt

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