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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

CJP turns down govt’s request for full court over military trials of civilians

“Judges are not available at this time. It is not possible to form a full court,” CJP Bandial told Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial turned down the government’s request to establish a full court to hear the multiple petitions challenging the trial of civilians in military courts, terming the demand “impossible”.

According to the details, the development came as a six-judge larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and consisting Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha A. Malik, resumed hearing the case.

“Judges are not available at this time. It is not possible to form a full court,” CJP Bandial told Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan.

Read more: Pakistan’s outgoing government justifies military trials in May violence

“Three judges excused themselves from hearing the case; some judges are not in the country,” he said. He further said that two more judges excused themselves on the first day of the hearing.

“We were surprised when the government came to the second hearing and objected to a judge. Justice Mansoor excused himself from hearing the case.” The CJP remarked that the bench had shrunk from nine to six.

“No judge has [any] personal interest in a case of public interest,” he  further remarked.

Following the arrests made in connection with the violent riots that erupted across the country on May 9, the government announced its decision to hold military court trials of those found guilty of damaging and attacking military instalments — a move both the government and the army considered a low blow.

Read more: SC bench hearing pleas against military courts dissolved once again

In light of this decision, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, former chief justice Jawwad S Khawaja, legal expert Aitzaz Ahsan, and five civil society members, including Piler Executive Director Karamat Ali, requested the apex court to declare the military trials “unconstitutional”.