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SC adjourns hearing of ICAs challenging annulment of civilians’ military trials

Bench refers the case to judges committee for formation of larger bench

By News Desk

April 24, 2024 09:29 AM


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The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned indefinitely hearing of a set of intra-court appeals (ICAs) challenging the annulment of civilians’ trials in military courts after referring the matter to judges committee for constituting a larger bench, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

A six-judge apex court bench, headed by Justice Aminuddin Khan, and comprised Justices Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Hassan Azhar Rizvi, Shahid Waheed, Musarat Hilali, and Irfan Saadat Khan conducted the proceedings today.

The Supreme Court on October 23 last year had unanimously nullified the military trials of civilians allegedly involved in May 9 vandalism. The case relates to trials of 103 civilians for their alleged roles in attacks on military installations during violence after PTI founder Imran Khan’s arrest.

The apex court had declared that the accused would not be tried in military courts but in criminal courts of competent jurisdiction established under the ordinary or special law of the land. On December 13, in a 5-1 majority verdict, the Supreme Court had conditionally suspended its earlier ruling.

As the proceedings began on Wednesday, Attorney General for Pakistan (AFP) informed the apex court that 20 of the 103 accused were freed before the Eid.

When Justice Ali Mazhar asked were the freed accused facing any other case?

Aitzaz Ahsan intervened, arguing they had been sent home as convicts. “A boy has been tagged as convicted and how he is in hiding,” he said and added “Whatever has happened is wrong and happened in haste. We could not spot AGP’s ability here.”  

Justince Aminuddin asked Aitzaz Ahsan whether the boy he was talking about was in the list of 20 accused released before Eid. He replied in affirmative.

The court order to make the AGP’s statement as part of the record and sought copies of the verdicts of military courts. “We want to know what procedure was followed during their trials,” Justice Shahid Wahid remarked.

Khawaja Ahmad Hussain, lawyer for Justice Jawad S Khawaja, then raised objection to the six-member apex court bench hearing ICAs. He prayed the court to refer the matter back to the judges committee for constitution of a nine-member larger bench.

He said Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah had penned notes in this case.
To which, Justice Mazhar said none of these two honourable judges talked about forming larger bench in their notes.

Lawyer for accused Salman Akram Raja maintained that what will happened to the verdict if two of the six-member bench disagree with others. “I support the request for constitution of a nine-member bench,” he added.

 

Reporter: Amanat Gishkori


News Desk


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