SC won’t allow Armed Forces to take ‘illegal actions’: CJP


‘We will defend the Constitution and the people,’ Chief Justice Bandial says, adjourning hearing indefinitely
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial has declared that the country’s armed forces would not be allowed to take “illegal actions” as the Supreme Court adjourned indefinitely the hearing on a slew of petitions challenging the military trials of civilians.
The six-judge bench, led by the CJP, comprised of Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha A Malik. As the court put off the hearing for an indefinite period, the CJP, on the occasion, sought from the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) the assurance that there would be no trial of civilians.
The AGP replied that he had already assured there would be no trial of the civilians. The chief justice made it clear that at the same time the apex court’s order of provision of facilities to civilians presently in detention in connection with the incidents of violence on May 9 would stay.
“I wish everybody comply with laws and the constitution,” he said, and added, “The court holds in high esteem those who cooperate with it. We even respect those who don’t cooperate with us.” Advocate Latif Khosa said his only appeal to the court was to give decision in the case this week.
CJP Bandial replied that as far as he was concerned, he was ready to work till 8:00 at night. “These days there are vacations. And there are some judges on the bench who have not taken a single day off,” he said, and added, “The vacations are for three months. But we had decided to settle for just one month.”
He further said that the court was mindful of the fact that presently the country was passing through tough times. “And we have a great respect for those whose role is instrumental in keeping this court functional,” he remarked.
The chief justice went on to say that what happened on May 9 was extremely unfortunate. “At the same time, however, I won’t like Pakistan Army personnel to shoot at civilians,” he said, adding, “And one must commend the army for not opening fire at civilians.”
He said it was also shocking that some people in Mianwali attacked military installations by bulldozing the wall. “But at the same time, let me make clear that the bench will not allow the country’s armed forces to do something illegal,” the CJP said categorically.
He further said that he thought the bench should hear more from the AGP. “I think we should adjourn the case’s hearing at least for two weeks,” he said. Advocate Latif Khosa sought from the court two hours to complete his arguments in the case.
The AGP said he would like to say something about the parallel judicial system. “In the case of Liaquat Hussain, the nature of crimes was purely civil,” he said, adding, “Suspects in the case were charged under section 2D(I) of the Official Secrets Act.” Rebutting the attorney general, Justice Muneeb Akhtar remarked that these were by no means crimes of civil nature.
The chief justice replied that after all the court, too, had to make sense of the case. “When I left the court yesterday, I had no idea what the parallel judicial system was,” he said, adding, “Now I am updated on it.” The court then adjourned hearing of the case for an indefinite time period.