Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Military trials of civilians get green light in Pakistan for the moment; Lahore bar to strike

Acting on an intra-court appeal, a six-member bench of the Pakistan Supreme Court today voted 5-1 to allow military trials of civilians to proceed pending a decision on the merits. The Express Tribune provides this detailed report. Dawn's report is even more detailed, and has useful links.

Numerous disturbing questions arise. For example:
1. Was a justice disqualified because he had previously expressed a view on the case?

2. Were there undisclosed recusals?

3. Was a six-member bench sufficient? Should it have been at least 7? Or 9? Should those sitting have been the most senior?

4. Was it proper to decide the intra-court appeal before the earlier 5-member bench's full opinion(s) had been issued? At present, it is not clear which provisions of the Army Act that panel found unconstitutional.
In a nutshell, this case is a judicial hot potato and, at present, a complete mess from the standpoint of fostering public confidence in the administration of justice. It is impossible to resist the impression that the composition of the court has been manipulated to achieve a particular outcome.

The case has been adjourned until the third week of January.

Dawn reports on the bar's position:
LHC Bar Association ‘strongly condemns’ suspension

Reacting to the order, the Lahore High Court Bar Association said it would hold a strike tomorrow (Thursday) and boycott court proceedings after the hearing of urgent cases in protest.

In a statement, seen by, it “strongly condemned” today’s decision and voiced its objection to the formation of the bench.

The bar said lawyers did not “accept military courts under any circumstances as the Supreme Court has already declared them void of jurisdiction”.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).