ISLAMABAD: As the Supreme Court resumes hearing on a set of challenges to trials of civilians in the military courts, at least nine accused facing trials under the Army Act have moved the apex court for early conclusion of their cases by the military courts. In their separate applications, the suspects pleaded that they have complete faith and confidence in the military authorities to provide justice to them and to other accused persons.

A five-member bench headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan will commence hearing challenges to the trial of civilians by the military courts from today. The bench includes judges Munib Akhtar, Yayha Afridi, Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Ayesha A. Malik. It will take up 13 different petitions against military courts.

The petitioners are former CJP Jawwad S. Khawaja, senior counsel Aitzaz Ahsan, Karamat Ali, Zaman Khan Vardag, Junaid Razzaq, the Supreme Court Bar Association, PTI chief Imran Khan, Hafeezullah Khan Niazi, retired Lt Col Inamul Rahim, and Naeemullah Qureshi.

The fresh applications requesting the apex court to urge the military authorities to expedite their trials under the army act were moved by Khalmat Khan, Ijazul Haq, Muhammad Rashid, Abdul Sattar, Rashid Ali, Muhammad Abdullah, Umer Muhammad, Hassan Shakir, and Faisal Irshad.

Nine accused file applications to become party to case against proceedings under army act

Following the violence on May 9 which targeted civilian as well as military installations, a total of 102 persons were taken into custody for their involvement in the attacks on military establishments, including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, corps commander’s residence in Lahore, PAF Base Mianwali, and an ISI office in Faisalabad.

In their applications, the accused requested the Supreme Court to implead them as a “necessary party in the case since all of them were involved in the May 9 incidents and were presently with the military authorities for the purposes of investigation and trial. Hence they were aggrieved party in the subject matter”. The applicants said they were never tortured by the military authorities during the course of investigations.

They contended that the military authorities should be asked by the court to try them under the provisions of the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and rules made thereunder so that justice be provided to them expeditiously.

According to the accused, the applications before the commanding officer were moved of their free will, without any pressure and coercion. They pleaded that they were affected parties whose valuable rights were involved in the pending cases. If the applicants were not impleaded as parties in the case and may not be heard, they will suffer loss as they will be deprived of their valuable legal rights, the applications added.

“Therefore, being aggrieved, the applicants must be considered necessary and proper party to be impleaded in the case for redressal of their grievances,” the applications added. The accused pleaded that the authorities concerned be directed that the trial of the applicants be kindly proceeded and concluded expeditiously to meet the ends of justice.

Earlier, the federal government in an application had told the Supreme Court that to safeguard the interests of the accused persons, it was imperative that their trials were conducted and concluded so that those who may merit acquittal could be acquitted and those who may merit minor sentences and have already served the time in custody could also be released.

Moreover, the accused persons if convicted could avail remedies available under the law. The federal government had stated that the trials of these accused persons would remain subject to the outcome of the proceedings in the instant case.

Published in Dawn, October 23th, 2023

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