Thursday, January 8, 2015

21st Amendment challenged in Pakistani Supreme Court

The ink was barely dry when Pakistan's military courts legislation was challenged in the Supreme Court. The Express Tribune reports:
Maulvi Iqbal Haider and Shahid Orakzai filed a petition in the apex court under Article 184(3) of the constitution, requesting the top court to provide guidelines and interpret Articles 2A, 4, 5, 9, 10, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 70(4), 175, 185, 190, 201, 203, 204 of the Constitution after the passage of 21s constitutional amendment as well as Pakistan Army (amendment) Act 2015.
Haider in his petition contended that as per the amendments, the military courts would not function under the supervision of the high courts or Supreme Court, which is against the basic structure of the Constitution, therefore, the court should take judicial notice in the larger interest of supremacy of the Constitution.
They further submitted that, under the Constitution every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate their religion and every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions. However, they contended that the latest amendment included the name of organisations using the name of religion or sect, instead of militancy. They termed the amendment a disgrace and an attempt to defame religion, sect, which is against the ideology of Pakistan.
Further, the petitioners argued that military courts should work under the supervision of superior courts as the right of appeal should be provided before the Supreme Court and the name of religion or sect should be avoided because terrorists/militants have no religion or sect.

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