ISLAMABAD: In a bid to “sensitise” the seven-member bench seized with petitions against trials of civilians in the military courts to the gravity of May 9 violence, the federal government is “seriously considering” playing footage of violent attacks on military and government buildings in Courtroom No 1.

“We want to sensitise the court to the gravity of the situation for which it is essential to show the video footage,” said Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan while talking to Dawn. He said the government intended to run the clips of violent incidents, which occurred following the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan on May 9, inside Courtroom No 1.

The government is likely to play different clips showing attacks in cantonments of Lahore, Mianwali, Rawalpindi, and Mardan, particularly attacks on the Lahore corps commander’s house and the General Head­quarters in Rawalpindi.

It is likely that the footage would be shown on Tuesday when it will be the government’s turn to advance arguments through AGP Awan.

Aitzaz argues military trials beyond scope of Article 175

Meanwhile, Aitzaz Ahsan furnished additional documents before the Supreme Court, pleading that trials of civilians in military courts violated fundamental rights and go beyond the scope of Article 175 of the Constitution — a provision that deals with the superior judiciary.

The additional document mainly contained a number of previous judicial precedents through different judgements of the apex court to conclude that the principles of a fair trial, due process of law, and natural justice ensh­rined in articles 4 and 10A of the Constitution cannot be abridged by an ordinary statutory legislation.

The document also contained a copy of Pakistan Vision Volume 21 No 2 on the establishment of military courts in Pakistan and its effect on the trichotomy of powers, as well as a copy of a briefing paper on ‘Military Injustice in Pakistan’.

About Article 10A, the additional document argued that fair trial meant the grant of a proper hearing to an accused person by an unbiased competent forum and that justice should not only be done but seem to be done.

The document cited a verdict of Justice Qazi Faez Isa in which the apex court had held that the expression “civil rights/obligations” used in Article 10A was of wide and expansive amplitude. In its comprehensive connotation, everything that affects a citizen in his civil life inflicts a civil consequence, the judgement had stated.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2023

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