The outgoing Pakistani government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday justified trials by the military in cases related to events of violence that took place in May, local media reported.
Calling the military trial an “apt and proportionate response,” the government told the country’s top court that the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act “not only predate the Constitution, but were never, till date, challenged,” according to daily Dawn. Pakistan’s current constitution was imposed in 1973.
The government said this in a written response after petitions against military trials of accused civilians were filed by former chief justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, Aitzaz Ahsan, Karamat Ali, and Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Sharif announced last week that he will hand over reigns to a caretaker setup next month as general elections in Pakistan are due in October.
Military trials are being held after an inquiry into May 9 violent protests which erupted following the arrest of former Prime Minister Khan.
The federal government told the court: “The events of May 9 were neither localized nor isolated and indicated a premeditated and intentional attempt to undermine the country’s armed forces and inhibit the country’s internal security.”
The Supreme Court is expected to resume hearing of the petitions on Tuesday.
Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Ahmad Sharif revealed last month that 102 protesters allegedly involved in the attacks were being tried in military courts, already established under the Army Act.
Besides the sackings, Sharif added that a “strict disciplinary” action was taken against another 15 officers, including three major generals and seven brigadier-rank officers.
At least eight people were killed and over 300 others, including policemen, injured in the violent protests, and thousands of activists and supporters of Khan’s PTI were detained over their alleged involvement in the attacks.