ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Defence took action on Friday by filing an intra-court appeal in the Supreme Court, challenging a decision made by a five-member bench. This ruling had previously declared the trial of civilians in military courts as unlawful.
In its petition, the ministry requested the apex court to overturn the decision made on October 23 and reinstate the portions of the Official Secrets Act deemed illegal. Additionally, it urged the Supreme Court to reinstate Section 59(4) of the Army Act.
The petition also cautioned that deeming certain sections of the Army Act and Official Secrets Act illegal would negatively impact the country.
The defense ministry’s plea follows a request made a day earlier by the caretaker Sindh government and the Shuhada Forum, Balochistan, separately asking the Supreme Court to nullify its verdict that declared unconstitutional the trials of civilians in military courts.
The Sindh chief secretary lodged an appeal under Section 5 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 along with Article 184(3) of the Constitution against the apex court’s ruling on the petitions challenging the trial of civilians in military courts.
The caretaker provincial government implored the apex court to consider its appeal against the short order issued on October 23 and to temporarily halt the implementation of the said order while the appeal remains pending.
On October 23, a larger bench of the apex court, led by Justice Ijazul Ahsen and including Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Ayesha A Malik, had declared the trial of civilians in military courts unconstitutional.
The court also ruled that 103 individuals and others involved in the events of May 9 and 10 should be tried in criminal courts established under the ordinary or special law of the land.
Various parties, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, have contested their trials in military courts, citing lack of transparency.
The decision to utilize military courts was made during the tenure of the government of Shehbaz Sharif, who concluded his term in August and transferred power to a caretaker government overseeing an election scheduled for January.
After the brief arrest of the former premier, Imran Khan, hundreds of his supporters raided military and government installations, and even set fire to a general’s residence.