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Saturday, April 13, 2024

SC Grants Conditional Permission for Military Courts to Pronounce Verdicts

The Supreme Court grants conditional permission for military courts to announce verdicts in cases related to the May 9 riots.

The Supreme Court (SC) has granted conditional permission for military courts to announce reserved judgments against civilians involved in cases related to the May 9 riots. The decision came during a hearing presided over by a six-member bench led by Justice Aminuddin Khan.

Last year, the SC nullified military trials of civilians involved in the May 9 riots, declaring them unconstitutional. However, the court has now allowed military courts to pronounce judgments in cases where suspects could potentially be released before Eid.

Background and Legal Proceedings

The case involves the trial of over 100 civilians accused of attacking army installations following the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 9. Previous rulings by the SC declared military trials of civilians as ultra vires the Constitution, directing that they be tried in criminal courts instead.

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In December, the SC conditionally suspended its ruling against military trials, pending a final judgment, after hearing intra-court appeals filed by federal and provincial governments. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government also withdrew its appeal against the SC’s decision.

Current Developments and Court Proceedings

During the recent hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan informed the court that around 20 individuals might be released before Eid, with concessions for those serving shorter sentences. He mentioned that a total of 105 individuals were in military custody, awaiting trial.

The court granted permission for military courts to pronounce reserved verdicts, subject to the final decision on appeals against the previous ruling. The AGP assured legal concessions for those with lesser sentences and stated that names of those to be released cannot be disclosed until verdicts are pronounced.