After Aitzaz, Former CJP Moves SC Against Military Trials Of Rioters

After Aitzaz, Former CJP Moves SC Against Military Trials Of Rioters
A former Chief Justice has approached the Supreme Court against the military trials of civilians, days after senior lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan moved a similar petition with the top court of the country.

According to the plea, "sections 2(1)(d)(i) and (ii) of the Pakistan Army Act 1952 are inconsistent with the fundamental rights conferred by the Constitution and are void and struck down."

It named the federation through the secretaries of law and justice, interior, defence, and chief secretaries of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan as respondents in the case.

The former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Jawwad S. Khawaja questioned how "civilians who are not on active service can be subjected to trial by military courts for alleged crimes."

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The petition said the "purpose is to maintain discipline within the forces. There's no basis on which they may be extended to civilians unless they are in active service."

It stressed that every citizen in the case of a criminal charge is entitled to fair and due process, pointing out that "this fundamental right is enshrined in Article 10-A of the Constitution."

'Irrefutable evidence'

While referring to the statements made by the military, the former top judge noted that the language indicated that "a view has already been formed by the army authorities and military command that irrefutable evidence exists in these cases."

In the presence of such a view, it will not be possible for the accused to receive a fair trial from army officers who operate under and are subject to the discipline of the army authorities, he maintained.

"These statements indicate that the alleged incidents are perceived by the army authorities as an attack on the military and its installations. In the presence of such perception, army officers presiding over court-martial trials would effectively be a judge in their own cause," the petition stated.

The petition asked for an interim measure, all the proceedings against civilians in military courts should be restrained till an order is passed.