reports that the Chief Justice of Pakistan has referred a missing persons case that involves three core questions of jurisdiction of offenses by military personnel to an expanded bench. Excerpt:
The questions put forth are: First, when a person is accused of commission of an offence under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and that person is serving in the Pakistan Army, is it the ordinary criminal (forums) courts, set up under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which are to try him, or is it for the forums under the Pakistan Army Act to try such an accused?
Second, is it the ordinary criminal courts (in the present case, the courts in Malakand) that are obliged to accede to the request made by the army authorities, or is it within the discretion of the ordinary courts to determine whether or not to allow the request of army authorities to transfer the case to them?
Third, if it is for the ordinary forums to exercise discretion in the matter of a request received from the army authorities, what is the basis on which such a request should be considered, and then allowed or declined?No word yet on whether the Chief Justice will also refer the numerous Constitutional Petitions challenging the use of military courts to try civilians to an expanded bench. According to the court's online case status page, the matter was referred to him on February 24, 2015. It would be surprising if the Malakand missing persons case were referred to an expanded bench but not the 21st Amendment challenges.