Martyrs’ families call for ‘restoration of military courts’

Published November 8, 2023
The families of the martyred address a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
The families of the martyred address a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

The families of martyrs on Thursday called for the “restoration of military courts”.

In a judgement that was hailed widely across the political spectrum, a five-member bench of the top court on October 23 had declared unconstitutional by a majority of 4-1, the military trials of civilians for their alleged role in attacks on army installations during violence in the country on May 9.

Led by Justice Ijazul Ahsan, the bench comprising Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Ayesha A Malik had unanimously emphasised that the cases of the accused involved in the May 9 riots will proceed before criminal courts.

The court had declared Section 2(1)(d) of the Pakistan Army Act (PAA), which elaborates on persons subject to the Act, to be in violation of the Constitution and “of no legal effect”. The court had also declared Section 59(4) (civil offences) of the Act to be unconstitutional. Justice Afridi had disagreed with striking down the sections.

Today, the Shuhada Forum addressed a press conference at the National Press Club in Islamabad where they called for the “restoration of military courts” and for Section 2(1)(d) to be reinstated.

During the press conference, Anwar Zeb said: “I am sure you must have seen the Supreme Court (SC) decision for shutting down military courts, we think that this can become a cause of facilitating vandals and abettors.”

He said that they would file a petition in the SC on Monday (November 13). He said that the blood of martyrs should not be in vain and called on the public to press the SC to let military courts function.

He said that Section 2(1)(d) should be reinstated. “You tell me — how can an ordinary judge who has no security or any such resources, how can he make a big decision with regard to a major terrorist?” he said.

Nawabzada Jamal Raisani said, “The sacrifices we have given have been for defending the country, not for any personal interest.”

He said that the decision by the SC, which was causing the martyrs’ families pain, was “compromising our security”.

“The closure of military courts, which the SC has done […] we have gathered so that you review it,” he said.

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