ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) on Thursday condemned the May 9 incidents of arson and violence after the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan, but at the same time called upon the government to carry out an “impartial investigation” into the episode.

In a unanimous statement issued by SCBA President Abid Zuberi, the lawyers’ body emphasised that it was important to strike a balance between security imperatives and the protection of civil liberties, including the right to a fair trial.

“To address these concerns, efforts should be made to strengthen the judiciary, enhance its capacity to handle terrorism-related cases, and ensure that all individuals are afforded due process, their fundamental rights protected and that they are tried in accordance with the law,” the statement said.

Referring to the government’s decision to try the May 9 suspects in military courts, the SCBA said the move raises questions about transparency, impartiality and the protection of civil liberties.

Bar body opposes trial of suspects by military courts

“It is crucial to ensure that all individuals accused of crimes are granted their fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 4, 8, 9, 10, 10-A and 14 of the Constitution , including the opportunity of a fair trial before already in-place criminal justice system.”

Military courts may lack civilian oversight and accountability as they are composed of armed forces’ officers, and their procedures and standards of evidence differ from those of civilian courts, the bar body said. “Trials by military courts shall be unconstitutional.”

The SCBA said it was essential to promote a peaceful and inclusive society where the rule of law prevails and where differences could be addressed through dialogue.

“The SCBA stands for the rule of law, supremacy of the Constitution and condemns the criminal events of May 9 wherein a violent mob attacked, ransacked and resorted to vandalism in Jinnah House (Lahore) and military installations across the country.

“Such acts of violence and destruction not only undermine the rule of law but also threaten the country’s stability and security,” according to the SCBA.

PBC calls for strike

The Pakistan Bar Council has called for a “complete strike” throughout the country on Monday (May 22) to protest New Delhi’s move to hold a meeting of the G20 Tourism Working Group in Srinagar and to express solidarity with the people of India-occupied Kashmir.

The scheduled meeting is against the United Nations Security Council resolutions and its charter, PBC Vice Chairman Haroonur Rashid and Hassan Raza Pasha, who heads the body’s executive committee, said in a statement on Thursday.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Kindness needed
Updated 20 Jun, 2024

Kindness needed

This year’s World Refugee Day theme — solidarity with refugees — includes keeping our borders accessible and addressing the hurdles they face.
Fitch’s budget note
20 Jun, 2024

Fitch’s budget note

PAKISTAN’S ongoing economic crisis is multifaceted. At one end, the government must pursue stabilisation policies...
Cruelty to animals
20 Jun, 2024

Cruelty to animals

TWO recent incidents illustrate the immense cruelty many in this country subject voiceless animals to. In the first...
Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
Updated 19 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

The staggering rejection rates underscore systemic biases in the largely non-transparent visa approval process.