PTI calls the SC’s verdict on the military trials a “judicial coup”

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A response to the Supreme Court (SC) judgment suspending its earlier ruling against civilian military trials, the former ruling party – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – termed it a “judicial coup,” claiming that the decision was contrary to the Constitution.

The party said that the Supreme Court’s decision was a “judicial coup” against the Constitution, referring to the 5-1 ruling against the court’s October 23 ruling, according to Geo News.

Following the riots that erupted after former PTI chief Imran Khan was arrested in a graft case, 103 civilians faced military trials, which saw military installations vandalized across the country.

After a six-member bench of the apex court – with Justice Musarrat Hilali differing with the majority – suspended its October 23 order declaring civilian trials in military courts void in connection with the May 9 riots, PTI responded.

As a result of the apex court’s earlier decision that annulled military trials of civilians, the Defense Ministry, Punjab, and Balochistan governments filed multiple intra-court appeals (ICAs) against the apex court’s earlier decision, led by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood. The bench included Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Hilali, and Justice Irfan Saadat Khan.

In today’s hearing, Justice Masood stated that the military trial of civilians would continue. However, the court in its short order stated that the military trials would be “conditional” upon the court’s final judgment regarding the ICAs.

In its October decision, the court’s nine-member bench unanimously decided against the government’s decision to hold military trials of civilians — four out of five judges declared Section 2(1)(d) of the Army Act and Section 59(4) (civil offenses) violate the Constitution and have no legal effect.

“Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the trials of civilians and accused individuals, which total approximately 103 persons, shall be conducted by criminal courts of competent jurisdiction established under the ordinary and/or special laws of the land in relation to the crimes of which they may be charged,” according to the court’s short order.

The former ruling party condemned the Supreme Court’s decision as a violation of fundamental human rights.

‘The Constitution does not provide for civilians to be tried in military courts,’ the court emphasized, adding that the bench’s decision would distort the country’s constitutional framework.

PTI reiterated its commitment to using all constitutional and political channels to express its concerns regarding the remarks made by “certain bench members”.

According to the party, the SC is responsible for upholding the Constitution and fundamental rights.

It was announced earlier this year that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government would conduct military trials of those allegedly involved in the May 9 riots, which resulted in the vandalism of military installations across the country, including the General Headquarters (GHQ), the Corps Commander’s House, and various other facilities.

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