Thursday, January 21, 2016

Transfer decision challenged in Pakistan

In the continuing legal struggle over the military courts Pakistan created a little over a year ago to try civilians, every step of the process is contested. At issue in a current case in the Sindh High Court is whether the proper procedures were employed in transferring an existing prosecution to a military court. Details here. Here's what the transfer process looks like:
The Sindh government’s representatives argued that the legal procedure regarding shifting of the cases to the military courts is very much defined and takes legality from the 21st constitutional amendment. Terrorism cases are considered at the highest level of the apex committee, which makes decisions regarding the shifting of terrorism cases to the military courts. 
The legal committee, comprising the provincial home and law secretaries, the prosecutor-general, counter-terrorism department AIG, provincial Rangers director-general, legal AIG and the representatives of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau deliberate in detail, keeping in view all the legal requirements. The committee then decides whether to send cases to the interior ministry, on which the legal team of the ministry and the Army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) further deliberate. Recommendations are then forwarded to the SHC chief justice. 
They said the legal committee of the apex committee deliberates upon the legal aspects of the cases, adding that after its approval the interior ministry is approached. The representatives further contended that after the interior ministry approved transferring the Safoora carnage case to the military court on September 18, 2015 the matter was submitted to the SHC chief justice, who, on December 28, 2015, endorsed the same and ordered the anti-terrorism court to shift the cases to the military courts.

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