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Saturday, July 13, 2024  
06 Muharram 1446  

Legal fraternity opposes civilians’ trial in military courts

Condemns Zalmay Khalilzad for 'interfering' in Pakistani politics
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The Pakistan Bar Council opposes the civilians’ trial under the Army Act as the country has a criminal system that also includes anti-terrorism courts, said PBC chief Hassan Raza Pasha.

“The PBC has been a strong opponent of civilians’ trial in the military courts as it deprives people of a fair trial under Article 10 [Safeguards as to arrest and detention] of the Constitution,” he said at Shaukat Paracha’s show Rubaroo on Sunday.

He agreed with the government’s demand that the perpetrators of May 9 should be held accountable for their actions, but they should be tried in the anti-terrorism courts rather than in the military courts.

Supreme Court Bar Association President Abid Zuberi reiterated with Pasha, saying that there was a criminal justice system in Pakistan for trying such people. “Whoever is involved in the May 9 riots should be tried under Anti-Terrorism Act.”

PPP’s Senator Maula Bakhsh Chandio was of the view that the PPP was not in favour of trying civilians in the military courts. But if someone has attacked military installations, then they can be tried in the military courts, he added.

The PPP wants everyone to get a free trial under the constitution, he said, adding: “But the army will take notice if civilians attack military installations and pose a threat to national security.”

Former US ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad also came under discussion during the show. He has been vocal on the internal political matters of Pakistan and actively tweets regarding the political development of Pakistan.

PPP Senator Chandio said that no one has the right to criticise Pakistan and its institutions. “Despite our disagreements with the institutions, we never tolerated foreigners criticising our institutions. If someone is doing it, it is spreading the propaganda of the party which is attacking the institutions. This party [PTI] has started the norm of abusing the army chief and everyone who disagrees with them, he added.

Pasha also condemned Khalilzad’s attempts to influence the country’s internal matters. “I, being a Pakistan, reserve the right to criticise the policies of the government and institutions. How a person, who is not even from Pakistan, can talk about the internal affairs of the country,” he said.

Zuberi said that the foreign ministry should record a protest against Khalilzad’s attempts to apparently influence the country’s internal affairs.

“If a former diplomat is believed to interfere in another country’s affairs, the international allows countries to diplomatically object to it and record protest,” he added.

“Why is our foreign office sleeping while a foreigner is spreading propaganda against our institutions and their head?” Zuberi asked.

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Zalmay Khalilzad


shaukat paracha

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Pakistan Bar Council