Friday, January 23, 2015

Pakistan Supreme Court to hear challenges to military courts amendment

The Supreme Court of Pakistan will consider a group of petitions challenging the recently-enacted 21st Amendment and Army Act amendment, which authorize military courts to try civilians for two years, according to this report.
The petitions challenging the adaptation of 21st Amendment were filed by the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) in the apex court Lahore Registry. About seven identical petitions were submitted in the apex court challenging the formation of military courts and the constitutional amendment.
The petitioners challenged the military court, arguing that the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan had no provision for a parallel judicial system in the country, and the passage of 21st Amendment was a deviation from the foundational structure of the constitution. The petitioners termed the military courts contrary to justice and pleaded the apex court to strike down this legislation. Earlier, a petition was filed by Molvi Iqbal Haider challenging the formation of military courts in the apex court and another one was filed by the Pakistan Justice Party Chairman Munsif Malik through his lawyer Ikram Chaudhry pleading the top court that the doctrine of necessity was buried by the apex court judgment of July 2009, while the incumbent democratic set up and the military establishment had restored this doctrine of necessity after the formation of military courts in the country.
The petitioner had pleaded that the political government and military establishment had resurrected the doctrine of necessity which was buried forever by the Supreme Court through the landmark July 31, 2009, judgment holding the Nov 3, 2007 emergency illegal. The petitioner had requested the Supreme Court to declare the 21st Amendment and creation of military courts against the salient features of the constitution which guaranteed fundamental rights of fair trial. Earlier, the National Assembly and the Senate had approved the 21st Amendment in the Constitution for the establishment of military courts in the country as a counter-terrorism effort by the political parties.
A three-member bench will hear the petitions on January 28. 

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