Supreme Court Reverses Its Own Decision on Military Trials
On Wednesday, a six-member bench of the Supreme Court reversed its previous decision to void the trial of civilians in military courts.
The decision was made following a set of intra-court appeals (ICAs) filed against the initial ruling. Headed by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, the bench included Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Musarrat Hilali, and Justice Irfan Saadat Khan.
The court announced the verdict with a 5-1 majority, with Justice Musarrat Hilali dissenting. This means that the trial of civilians in military courts will continue until a final decision is reached on the appeals.
The appeals were filed by the caretaker federal government and the provincial governments of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Punjab.
The defense ministry also submitted an ICA against the judgment, seeking the suspension of the verdict’s operation during the appeal process.
During the hearing, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan requested the court to conditionally allow the military trial of civilian suspects. The Supreme Court decided that the trials of 103 civilians would continue, with the final verdict being conditional upon the orders of the apex court.
Also Read: Lawyers reject civilian military trials.
The proceedings involved objections raised against Justice Masood, who refused to recuse himself from the bench.
The court reserved the verdict after hearing arguments from various parties, including the defense ministry, counsel for petitioners against military trials, and the AGP.
The decision to reverse the earlier verdict of nullifying military trials will have implications for ongoing legal proceedings related to the jurisdiction of military courts over civilians.