In response to the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the trial of civilians in military courts, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) expressed its discontent, asserting that the verdict is not in line with constitutional principles. A PTI spokesperson stated that the decision raises concerns about the disruption of constitutional order and system integrity.
The spokesperson emphasized that the Supreme Court’s decision touches upon fundamental human rights, and there is no provision in the constitution allowing for the trial of civilians in military courts. The PTI spokesperson went on to argue that decisions from the review bench may pose a threat to the constitutional structure and order of the country.
The Supreme Court, headed by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, comprising Justices Amin-ud-Din Khan, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Masood Halali, and Irfan Saadat, entertained appeals against the decision to declare the trials of civilians in military courts as void. The Attorney General, Salman Akram Raja, and Additional Attorney General appeared before the bench.
Khawaja Haris, the defense lawyer representing some individuals, argued that not every trial of civilians is taking place in military courts. He suggested that only those trials are conducted in military courts that pose a threat to national security. He further highlighted that 104 individuals have been in military custody for seven months, and it is appropriate for their trials to be completed.
During the proceedings, the court questioned whether the trials had concluded. The Attorney General explained that individual charges had been framed against some accused, and for others, the decision might result in acquittal. When asked how he knew that the sentence would be less than three years, the Attorney General clarified that the duration of the accused’s custody during the trial would also be part of the sentence.
.Later, the court deferred the decision on declaring the trials in military courts void to October 23. Justice Masroor Halali expressed dissent, leading to a division within the six-member bench
It is crucial to note that the government, while seeking the postponement of the decision until October 23, had argued that there are many hardcore terrorists whose trials are essential. The PTI’s reaction underscores the deep concerns within the political landscape regarding the implications of allowing military trials for civilians, raising questions about constitutional and human rights violations.