Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Decision imminent in Pakistani military courts challenge

In many countries -- the U.S. among them -- it is anybody's guess when the constitutional court will hand down a particular decision. Not so in Pakistan, evidently, as the evening's news is that the Supreme Court will today (i.e., tonight or tomorrow, East Coast time) issue its decision on the numerous constitutional petitions challenging the 21st Amendment, which permits military courts with power to try civilians. Also at issue is the 18th Amendment, which has been the subject of a number of long-pending constitutional petitions. Pakistan Today writes:
The apex court on June 26 had reserved its ruling in a case challenging the 18th and 21st constitutional amendments. The lengthy legal battle reached the apex court a few months ago when 17-judges of the Supreme Court started examining petitions challenging the procedure of appointment of judges under the 18th Amendment and the establishment of military courts under the 21st Amendment to try militants in the wake of last year’s bloody Peshawar school rampage. 
After intense legal wrangling, the SC considered three questions regarding the validity of the 18th and 21st constitutional amendments and is expected to issue its ruling based on them. 
The questions were whether or not the amendments have a constitutional structure, whether the 21st Amendment is in contradiction with the constitution and if the top court has the authority to annul the amendments in question.
We'll keep following this important story. It's a moment of truth for the Supreme Court of Pakistan. 

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