Monday, December 29, 2014

Pesky precedents in Pakistan

Apparently concerned that the Supreme Court of Pakistan's case law will be an impediment to creation of military courts to try civilians under the National Action Plan, supporters of the idea have come up with an ingenious, procrustean solution: simply ask the Supreme Court preemptively to reconsider a case that disallowed an earlier government's attempt to introduce military courts. Details appear in this article in The Dawn. The landmark case in question is Sh. Liaquat Hussain v. Federation of Pakistan, PLD 1999 SC 504, excerpts from which appear here and here. According to The Dawn:
In a petition filed before the apex court on Saturday, regular litigant and [political party] Awami Himayat Tehreek Chairman Maulvi Iqbal Haider has asked the court to empower the government – in view of the prevailing circumstances – to make laws or promulgate ordinances to establish military courts in order to help civil authorities curb terrorism and militancy.
The petitioner argued that there was nothing in Articles 4 through 25 of the constitution – which relate to fundamental rights – that prohibits the setting up of military courts to try terrorists, if it helped the government to protect its citizens.
It would appear that a constitutional crisis is brewing as fallout of the Peshawar school massacre. 

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