| Welcome to Global Village Space

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Supreme Court Advances on Military Trials: Forming a Larger Bench

The Supreme Court of Pakistan advances on addressing appeals regarding civilian trials in military courts, accepting pleas for the formation of a larger bench amidst legal challenges and procedural considerations.

The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan has taken significant steps towards addressing appeals regarding the annulment of civilian trials in military courts by accepting requests for the formation of a larger bench.

Read More: Pakistan Stock Exchange Hits Record High, Breaches 72,000 Mark

Led by Justice Aminuddin, a six-member bench, including Justices Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Shahid Waheed, Musrrat Hilali, and Irfan Saadat Khan, deliberated on the pleas during the hearing. These requests, initiated by former CJP Jawad S. Khawaja’s lawyer, referenced notes from Justices Afridi and Mansoor Ali Shah, prompting the need for a larger bench.

Procedural Clarifications and Decisions

During the proceedings, questions emerged regarding the influence of these notes on the current bench’s decision-making.

Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar clarified that Justice Afridi’s observations were confined to the final verdict. The lawyer emphasized the risk of pleas being dismissed in case of a split 3-3 decision by the current bench, leading Justice Mazhar to suggest the possibility of convening a larger bench to address the matter comprehensively.

Advancement in Proceedings

Subsequently, the SC accepted requests for a nine-member or larger bench, forwarding the matter to the judges’ committee for further deliberation. In a previous hearing, the court had requested detailed information from the attorney-general concerning individuals sentenced to three years in military courts.

Additionally, the release of 20 accused, previously sentenced to one year in jail, was ordered before Eid, with their particulars submitted to the SC for review and documentation.

Military Trials and Legal Challenges

The decision to conduct military trials originated from violent clashes nationwide on May 9, triggered by the arrest of a former prime minister at the Islamabad High Court.

In response, the government opted for military court trials for those implicated in attacks on military installations during the unrest. This move prompted figures such as Imran Khan, Jawwad S Khawaja, Aitzaz Ahsan, and civil society members to challenge the constitutionality of military trials before the apex court.