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National

April 12, 2017

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SCBA to challenge military courts’ extension in SC

SCBA to challenge military courts’ extension in SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has decided to challenge extension of military courts recently by the Parliament for another two years in the Supreme Court.

The constitutional petition being in process of drafting will be filed within two-three days by the SCBA in the apex court through its president Rashid A Rizvi, Aslam Ghuman, additional secretary of the association, told The News on Monday.

On March 20, the National Assembly approved amendment to the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) extending the tenure of military courts for another two years. The proposed 28th Constitution Amendment Bill (which has become the 23rd Amendment after its passage) is similar to the 21st Amendment, which was enforced in 2015 to establish military courts for a period of two years.

Military courts were established through a constitutional amendment and granted permission to try civilians charged with terrorism in Jan 2015 after a wave of terrorism including a brutal attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014. The courts have been non-functional since early this year, after the expiry of two-year tenure. Under the ongoing operation against the terrorists, the government again wants to extend the tenure of military courts to try any civilian under the charges of terrorism.

On March 30, Rashid A Rizvi in his address to the full court reference held on the eve of retirement of Justice Ameer Hani Muslim, Judge of the Supreme Court, had said that on the much maligned doctrine of state necessity, military courts are being given a new lease of life on the pretext of countering terrorism. He said that the establishmentof parallel judiciary was never approved by any court in a civilised country. He had cited the apex court judgment delivered in the case of Azizullah Memon (PLD 1993 SC 341).

The SCBA president had claimed that the judiciary of Pakistan neither in the past nor in the present have failed to perform in accordance with law and Constitution and it is failure on the part of civilian and military governments that the institution of judiciary was always neglected and ignored. He had stated that the most appropriate and effective way to counter terrorism is to enhance the strength of judiciary and para-legal staff, to improve and make effective the working of intelligence and investigating agencies and to make the prosecution department more efficient.

“Military justice is justice denied and military courts have never been nor will be an answer to defeat terrorism,” Rizvi had said.

 

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