May 9 riots: SC urged to initiate contempt proceedings against defence secretary for ‘violating’ order on civilians’ military trials
The Supreme Court on Monday was urged to initiate contempt proceedings against the defence secretary for “violating” its Oct 23 verdict, wherein it had nullified military trials of civilians.
In the widely praised Oct 23 ruling, a five-member SC bench — comprising Justices Ijazul Ahsan, Munib Akhtar, Yahya Afridi, Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Ayesha Malik — had declared that trying 103 civilians in military courts for their alleged role in attacks on army installations during the riots that followed ex-premier Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9 was ultra vires the Constitution.
The bench had also emphasised that the cases of the suspects involved in the vandalism would proceed before criminal courts.
The caretaker federal government as well as the provincial ones in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab have filed appeals in the apex court, challenging its Oct 23 verdict. Meanwhile, Sindh has denied filing a purported plea on the same matter.
The defence ministry has also moved an intra-court appeal (ICA) before the SC against its judgement, requesting the apex court to suspend the verdict’s operation during the pendency of the ICA.
Today, a constitutional petition was filed by members of civil society — former Karachi Metropolitan Corporation administrator Fahim Zaman Khan, Aurat Foundation Director Mahnaz Rahman, educationist Prof Dr A.H. Nayyar, and clinical psychologist and educationist Syed Zulfiqar Hussain Gilani.
The above citizens were also petitioners in one of the pleas challenging the trials of civilians in military courts.
The plea — filed under Article 204 (contempt of court) of the Constitution through Advocate Faisal Siddiqi — made Defence Secretary Lieutenant General (rtd) Hamooduz Zaman Khan a party in the case.
It urged the court to initiate proceedings of contempt of court against retired Gen Hamooduz Zaman Khan for “deliberately and malafidely, disregarding and violating” the SC’s Oct 23 order.