SC moved against 29 civilians' military trials during PTI regime

By
Sohail Khan
Two policemen walk past the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — Reuters/File
Two policemen walk past the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — Reuters/File

  • PTI chief, ex-army and ISI chiefs made respondents among others.
  • Petitioner argues trials of civilians had no legal effect.
  • Seeks criminal proceedings against ex-PM, army officials.


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) was moved against the conviction of nearly 30 civilians by military courts during the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, The News reported.

The apex is already dealing with a set of petitions seeking the nullification of the orders of trying civilians under army laws in the wake of May 9 protests, and the PTI chief is one of the petitioners. 

Now, Lieutenant Colonel (retd) Inam-ul-Rehim, making the former premier a respondent, filed the petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and requested the apex court to overturn the trial, conviction and sentences awarded to the said civilians.

He maintained that the trial of 29 civilians under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, in conjunction with the Official Secrets Act, 1923, was in violation of articles 4, 9, 10, 10-A, 25, and 175 of the Constitution of Pakistan. These trials were null and void from the beginning and had no legal effect, he argued.

The petitioner has also urged the SC to hold the former prime minister, former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa and former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hameed responsible for the abduction and illegal detention of 29 civilians, and initiate criminal proceedings against them for the alleged abuse of their powers, misuse of authority, and misuse of state machinery.

“Criminal proceedings should be initiated against these respondents for the abduction, illegal detention, and conviction of the 29 civilians without due process of law and in violation of the fundamental rights and constitutional guarantees for every citizen under the Constitution," the petition read.

Besides the former PM, army chief and former ISI chief, the respondents of the case include the Federation of Pakistan through the secretary of the Ministry of Defence, judge advocate general (JAG) of the army, advocate general branch, and the registrars of the Lahore High Court, Peshawar High Court, Sindh High Court, Balochistan High Court, Quetta, and Islamabad High Court.

Similarly, the petitioner requested the apex court to direct JAG, who is the custodian of records of all court-martials conducted under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, to present the complete record of trials of all civilians conducted under the military law, in conjunction with the Official Secrets Act, 1923, for the fair and just disposal of the present petition.

Furthermore, the petitioner appealed to the apex court to direct the registrars of all high courts to provide the complete record of cases of all civilians tried under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, in conjunction with the Official Secrets Act, 1923, pending before their respective high courts.

The petitioner argued that the trial of civilians under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, was a result of the unconstitutional decision of the federal government headed by Khan, the chief executive of the country, and was facilitated by senior army officials.