Pakistan SC upholds military courts, rejects pleas

Islamabad, Aug 5 (IANS) The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday rejected all applications challenging the 18th and 21st constitutional amendments, ruling in favour of the establishment of military courts in the country.

A 17-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nasirul Mulk had reserved the verdict on the 35 identical applications against the two constitutional amendments on June 27, Geo TV reported.

The bench dismissed the petitions challenging the 21st amendment with 11 judges voting to reject the pleas and six in favour.

Besides, petitions challenging the 18th amendment were also rejected by a majority 14-3 vote.

The verdict was announced by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk and Justice Dost Muhammad.

The ruling by the apex court on Wednesday puts the stamp of approval for military courts in Pakistan, which were formed under the 21st constitutional amendment and the Pakistan Army Act 1952 for speedy hearing of terrorism cases following the Taliban attack at the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014.

The establishment of the military courts was challenged in the pleas against the 21st constitutional amendment by the Supreme Court Bar Association, the Lahore High Court Bar Association and other lawyers’ bodies, arguing that the military courts were an expression of no-confidence in the judiciary, a violation of basic human rights and against the basic structure of the constitution.

The apex court had halted the execution of six militants who were handed down the death sentence.

But Wednesday’s verdict upholding the establishment of the military courts paves way for the continuation of the hearing of terrorism cases in military courts and the execution of the six death row prisoners.

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