Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More details on the Pakistan Supreme Court's session on February 23

Additional details have emerged about the constitutional petitions hearing that was conducted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday. According to this account in Pakistan Today:
Hamid Khan, Irfan Qadir, attorney general (AG) and counsels of other petitioners appeared in the court. 
Indefinitely adjourning the case hearing, the bench observed that the case regarding the 18th Amendment will be heard first followed by the 21st Constitutional. Although the dates regarding the two will be set together, they will be heard separately, the court observed, also directing the Islamabad AG to submit a written reply within three days. 
Considering that the case was being heard in Islamabad, the Sindh AG invoked Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali’s wrath by telling him that the provincial government has submitted its response at the apex court’s Karachi registry. 
Advocate generals (AGs) of Punjab and Balochistan told the court that responses have already been filed. 
During the hearing, Advocate Hamid Khan informed the court that the federal and Khyber Pakhutnkhwa governments have only submitted their responses so far. 
While rejecting Khan’s plea seeking fixation of the case for early hearing, the court remarked, “Constitution of bench is discretionary power of the CJP. We cannot ask him to fix the case for early hearing by constituting the bench soon.” 
Justice Jamali remarked, “The matter of 18th Amendment is already pending hearing with the court. The questions of identical nature have been raised in the cases of 18th and 21st amendments. A legal and constitutional reply to these questions is required. The decision in the two matters will be rendered after their detailed hearing. However, this three-member bench is not issuing instruction of any kind and we are referring the matter to CJP for constitution of larger bench upon it.” 
Ordering the filing of a reply from Islamabad within three days, the court observed that others had filed their replies.
 In other action, President Mamnoon Hussain has issued Pakistan Army (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, prescribing rules for the military courts. It gives military judges discretion to close trials to the public.

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