Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Attorney General's argument in 21st Amendment case

Dawn has this report on the government's argument in the 21st Amendment case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. If accepted, it's bad news not only for civilians tried in the new military courts, but for military personnel tried by courts-martial as well. Excerpt:
The attorney general cited a number of cases and presented a huge volume of case laws to emphasise that the constitutional provision (Article 245) also took away the jurisdiction of high courts under Article 199 in relation to any area in which the armed forces for the time being were operating in aid of the civil power.

Referring to Article 199(3) of the Constitution, he said the high courts could not look into the trials being conducted by the military courts, adding that the courts could also not issue any order in relation to the people who had been made subject to the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 or had connections with the armed forces.

Citing an example, the federal law officer explained that an enemy alien, if apprehended, would never be tried under ordinary civil courts; he would be produced before the Field General Court Martial. Such people could not approach high courts, he argued.
Full disclosure: The editor has assisted counsel for one of the petitioners in the 21st Amendment litigation. 

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