The Supreme Court’s bench hearing pleas against civilians’ trials in military courts dissolved for the second time on its third hearing after the government raised objections over Justice Mansoor Ali Shah’s inclusion to the bench.
According to the details, at the outset of the hearing, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan raised an objection to the presence of Justice Mansoor Ali Shah on behalf of the federal government.
To clarify, former CJP Jawwad S. Khawaja, Aitzaz Ahsan, Karamat Ali, and PTI Chairman Imran Khan filed petitions challenging military trials of civilians. Amid this backdrop, Justice Shah had previously informed the court that he was a relative of petitioner Khawaja and that if anyone had concerns about his inclusion to the bench, he would recuse himself.
At this, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Awan said he had no reservations against his inclusion in the bench. However, today, the AGP submitted to the court that he had “been instructed [by the government] that Justice Mansoor Ali Shah should not be a part of the bench.”
CJP Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked the bench cannot be constituted on your ‘choice and will’. “Avoid defaming judiciary”, CJP remarked. Meanwhile, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah excused himself from the hearing of the case. “I cannot remain part of the bench after objections.”
جسٹس منصور علی شاہ نے سابق چیف جسٹس جواد ایس خواجہ سےرشتہ دار ی کی وجہ سے پہلے ہی دن کیس کی سماعت شروع ہوتے ہی سب سے پہلے اٹارنی جنرل اور دیگر فریقین سے پوچھا تھاکہ کیا کسی کو بنچ پر یا بنچ کے کسی جج پر اعتراض تو نہیں تو اٹارنی جنرل اور دیگر تمام فریقین نے بیک زبان ہوکر کہا کہ… https://t.co/w8cIUuzyPV
— Asad Kharal (@AsadKharal) June 26, 2023
PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s May 9th arrest had triggered countrywide protests where state and military installations were attacked. The government decided to try the vandals who attacked army installations in military courts. Several petitions were filed in the Supreme requesting the apex court to declare the military trials “unconstitutional”.
The plea demanded to declare “any proceedings against civilians on the basis of the impugned sections unlawful”. It prayed the court should direct that such civilians be transferred to the competent civilian authorities for appropriate proceedings before ordinary criminal courts.
Initially, the petitions were fixed before a nine-member bench, but Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Tariq Masood objected to it. Later, the bench was dissolved and a new bench was formed to hear the case.