Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on Monday announced a ‘historic’ verdict, ruling that civilians cannot be tried in a military court. The 5-member bench headed by Justice Ijaz ul-Ahsan gave the decision after hearing arguments on both sides for months. The bench was reconstituted by the three-member committee and the new bench concluded the case in only one hearing.
Commenting on the subject on Naya Daur TV’s flagship show ‘Khabar Say Aagay (Beyond the Headlines)’, senior lawyer Ahmad Hassan Shah said that the courts should always operate with full freedom and today’s decision is reflective of this independence. He however wondered why the chief justice formed a 5-member bench in this case while previously many of the judges have argued in favour of a full court to hear constitutional matters.
Shah added that the decision reached in just one hearing was surprising for him. If it was this simple, why did the previous bench, headed by former chief justice Umar Ata Bandial, took so long listening to the arguments, he wondered. To this, host Raza Rumi responded that it was an open and shut case, shouldn’t have taken the court more than one hearing anyway.
Lawyer Haider Waheed, commenting on the political aspect of the decision, said that the chief justice had intelligently kept himself out of the bench, letting the previous bench continue with the hearing. “It was primarily a matter of judiciary’s autonomy and jurisdiction, and whether a parallel judicial system should be allowed to operate. From that aspect, the decision is extremely important. But so far we’ve seen that no matter what the courts have decided, the establishment has had its way one way or the other. Parvez Elahi is still in jail, Imran Khan is disqualified and imprisoned. What needs to be seen is whether this decision will have an impact on that front”, he added.
Syed Sabih-ul-Hussnain reported that according to the Attorney General of Pakistan, the government was going to file a review against the decision.
Beyond the Headlines is hosted by Raza Rumi Monday-Saturday 9 PM on Naya Daur TV.