Sunday, July 5, 2015

Was the Supreme Court of Pakistan's order obeyed?

Readers may recall that at one point in its multi-day hearing in the 21st Amendment cases the Supreme Court of Pakistan directed the government to produce the records of the first six military courts cases that had been tried. Judging by this op-ed, by Dr. Faqir Hussain, that seems not to have happened:
Following the passage of the 21st Amendment and amendments to the Army Act of 1952, military courts were established for the trial of terrorists/militants. These courts became functional and within weeks convicted and awarded death sentences to six militants. The executions were, however, stayed by the Supreme Court as the matter had become subjudice following a challenge to the 21st Amendment on the basis of the basic structure theory. 
Various comments have appeared since then for and against this politically unanimous but legally controversial decision. . . .
*   *    * 
Ironically, no information was given about the trial and conviction of the six terrorists that were convicted after the passage of the 21stAmendment, like the names of accused persons or those of judges, prosecutors, defence counsel, the place of trial, etc. This is despite the fact that under the Pakistan Army Rules 1954, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order are applicable to trial by military courts. This form of dispensation of justice will certainly invite international outcry. The best course available is the trial of militants/terrorists by the special anti-terrorism courts under the law and Constitution of Pakistan, ensuring all the legal safeguards of fair trial by an independent and impartial court, following the rule of law and due process. It will also satisfy the requirements of international law, in particular, the Security Council Resolution 1373, obligating member states to take effective counterterrorism measures, including the arrest, trial and punishment of offenders and giving mutual legal assistance to each other to eliminate the scourge of militancy. [Emphasis added.]
If any reader in Pakistan can clarify what actually happened, you are invited to comment. [Real names only, please.] 

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