PTI, families demand CJP to ‘expedite’ hearing of cases against civilians’ military trial

  • Seek CJP, SC’s intervention for justice, release of civilians held in military custody at earliest
  • Ali Muhammad Khan emphasizes all detainees are patriotic Pakistanis, need state sympathy
  • Chief Justice must sit on larger bench to do justice to celebrate his legacy: Barrister Abuzar

ISLAMABAD: The family members of the prisoners and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) demanded the Supreme Court (SC) and Chief Justice of Pakistan to immediately constitute a larger bench to hear the cases of the civilians held in military custody to ensure their earliest release, terming civilians’ military trial unconstitutional and unlawful.

The family members of the civilians who are in military custody were addressing a press conference alongside with PTI senior leader Ali Muhammad Khan, Central Information Secretary Raoof Hasan, Barrister Abuzar Salman Niazi, and former chief minister Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khursheed.

Ali Muhammad Khan, who heads the PTI prisoners committee, said that the civilians detained under the guise of May 9 incidents had been facing military trial for the last over one year.

He said that majority of the detainees were well-educated and sole bread earners of their respective families but they were unjustly implicated in false and fabricated cases, which seemed nothing but a war of ego, because those who were convinced to address press conferences were given clean chit in all serious cases.

Ali Muhammad stated that all legal fraternity irrespective of political affiliation were unanimous on the point that civilian trials in military courts was unconstitutional and unlawful because they limited the sources of fair trials and justice, which one could get in the civil courts.

PTI leader demanded CJP to form a larger bench to decide whether cases of these prisoners could have been tried in the military courts in order to ensure early release of these patriotic citizens so as they could serve the country because decisions had already been given against some detainees.

He made it clear that PTI was a peaceful political force as it never thought of violent protests, as neither PTI nor the incarcerated PTI supporters have any link with terrorists, adding that they were firmly stood with these illegally detained citizens and their families come what may because they are patriotic Pakistanis.

Therefore, he pressed that the state should treat them with sympathy and pay serious attention to their issue because they are not terrorists, insisting that the state positive behavior even could bring the hardcore people into the mainstream who took guns against the state.

Ali Muhammad stressed the need that they should be given the chance to prove their innocence and should not push against the wall, as they have already spent two eids in detention and the PTI prisoner committee met with their families; hence they could feel their agony and pains.

He reiterated the party’s demand of judicial inquiry into the May 9 episode to bring the truth before the nation because PTI had great hope from the superior court and CJP in this regard because PTI did not have any trust on any other state institution.

PTI leader recalled that PTI always stood firmly with the judiciary and it would never compromise on the judicial independence, which was evident even in the case of six judges’ letter, as only PTI raised voice and demanded the apex court to take suo motu notice on the issue.

Speaking on the occasion, Barrister Abuzar Salman Niazi categorically stated that the military courts was unconstitutional because it was violative to the article 175 of the constitution as the same institution was working as judge, jury and executive so how it could do justice.

He asserted that the civilians should be tried in a civilian courts that was the reason a concept of separation was given in the constitution or else it would lead to constitutional crisis.

Abuzar reminded that the military courts gave verdicts against the civilians within four days, which was unprecedented and how it could be called a fair trial.

He stated that the government had to make special time-bound constitutional amendments to try TTP terrorists in military courts and now the PTI young workers were being tried unlawfully in military despite the expiry of the constitutional amendment.

He stated that the names of a five-member SC bench — comprising Justices Ijazul Ahsan, Munib Akhtar, Yahya Afridi, Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Ayesha Malik, who had unanimously declared that trying the accused civilians in military courts was ultra vires the Constitution, would be remembered in golden word in history.

Senior lawyer pointed out that the incumbent CJP’s legacy was questionable due to his decision of depriving PTI of its electoral symbol bat and added that if he wanted to celebrated his legacy, he must have to sit in the larger bench to do justice with the unlawful detained PTI people since his retirement was approaching because you had already declared military court unconstitutional when Taliban was being tried in the military court.

He said that they are political activists but unfortunately judiciary handed them over to military courts hiding behind the stay order.

Speaking on the occasion, Sidra Murtaza, whose brother was in military custody, narrated the ordeals her family members being passed through since the detention of her brother in May 9 related incidents.

She demanded of the apex court to form a larger bench to hear the case of the civilians being tried unjustly in military courts, as family members of these civilians were suffered from various ailments and some even passed away due to mental stress and agony.

She noted that after the decision from the military courts, they did not know where to go for appeal against the verdict, adding that all the detained civilians were well-educated youth and they had nothing to do with terrorists.

Sidra urged CJP and COAS to meet them as they were patriotic Pakistanis and detained under some misunderstanding as they did not wrong because the country’s constitution guaranteed its citizens the right of a peaceful protest.

The family members were of the views that their loved ones should be should be tried in civilian courts and must be given full chance of fair trial, as in the military courts they were being subjected to mental torture to make them patients because they were deprived of all prisoners’ rights.


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