Govt ‘challenge’ SC bench hearing pleas against civilian trials in military courts

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(Clockwise) CJP Umar Ata Bandial, Judge Ijazul Ahsan, Judge Muneeb Akhtar, Judge Mazahir Ali Naqvi, Judge Mansoor Ali Shah, Judge Yahya Afridi and Judge Ayesha Malik.  — SC website
(Clockwise) CJP Umar Ata Bandial, Judge Ijazul Ahsan, Judge Muneeb Akhtar, Judge Mazahir Ali Naqvi, Judge Mansoor Ali Shah, Judge Yahya Afridi and Judge Ayesha Malik. — SC website
  • The SC bank will resume the case tomorrow.
  • Irfan Qadir will appear on behalf of Khawaja Asif.
  • Farogh Naseem will appear on behalf of Prime Minister Shehbaz.

ISLAMABAD: The government will challenge the constitutional and legal status of a seven-member Supreme Court seat tomorrow (Monday) and hear pleas against the trial of civilians in military courts, The news reported.

According to the publication, Irfan Qadir, the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant (SAPM) for accountability, will appear in court on behalf of Defense Minister Khawaja Asif when the latter resumes the hearing.

The bank has given notices to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Defense Minister Asif in the matter.

Senator Advocate Dr Farogh Naseem was to appear on behalf of the Prime Minister, while Shah Khawar was to represent the Home Secretary in court.

Qadir is a top lawyer and constitutional expert and was the Attorney General and Judge of the country’s Supreme Court.

He voiced the objection regarding the legal and constitutional status of the bank early last week on a talk show before the first session of the nine-member bank headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

The country’s designated chief justice Qazi Faez Isa and second senior judge of Supreme Court Justice Sardar Tariq Masood objected to the establishment of the court and walked out.

After their refusal, a seven-member bench was formed under the leadership of CJP himself and consisting of Judge Ijazul Ahsan, Judge Mansoor Ali Shah, Judge Muneeb Akhtar, Judge Yahya Afridi, Judge Ayesha Malik and Judge Mazahir Ali Naqvi.

In a short conversation with The news on Saturday evening, Qadir fully endorsed the note regarding the composition of the bench, calling it unconstitutional and illegitimate Justice Isa, as it was established without consulting the three-member committee of the top judges.

“The law in this area is already in the book,” he said.

Qadir said any position taken by the current bank will have no consequences as the entire exercise is flawed and unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, sources indicated that Shehbaz and Sanaullah’s councilors would also follow the position to be taken by Qadir.

Qadir stepped down from his SAPM position early this year when he appeared in the apex court on behalf of the Election Commission of Pakistan in the Punjab Assembly polls case.

He later re-assumed the assignment, but this time, sources said, he is appearing on behalf of the Defense Secretary without abdicating his responsibilities as SAPM.

The legal fraternity has backed legislation (Supreme Court Practices and Procedure Act 2023) curtailing the chief justice’s powers since fulfilling its longstanding demand to eliminate one-man shows in the upper judiciary, sources said.


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