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Should Military Courts Hold Civilian Trial?

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In Pakistan, military courts have been allowed to try civilians in certain circumstances under the Constitution and the law. Specifically, Article 245 of the Pakistani Constitution provides for the deployment of the armed forces to assist civilian law enforcement agencies in maintaining public order and combating terrorism. The law also provides for the establishment of military courts to try individuals accused of terrorism and other offenses related to national security.

Military courts can try civilians for offenses that fall within the jurisdiction of military law, such as offenses under the Pakistan Army Act of 1952 and the Official Secrets Act of 1923. However, the use of military courts to try civilians has been a topic of controversy in Pakistan, with some human rights groups arguing that it violates due process and the right to a fair trial.

International human rights organizations have also expressed concern about the use of military courts to try civilians, as it can undermine the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. The United Nations Human Rights Council has called on Pakistan to abolish military courts and ensure that all cases are tried by civilian courts with full respect for due process and other human rights.

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To reform the military trial of civilians in Pakistan, it would be necessary to amend the Constitution and relevant laws to ensure that civilians are only tried by civilian courts with full respect for due process and human rights. This would involve strengthening the independence of the judiciary and ensuring that all individuals have access to legal representation and a fair trial.

In addition, it is important to address the underlying causes of terrorism and other security threats in Pakistan, including poverty, inequality, and political instability. By addressing these root causes, Pakistan can reduce the need for military courts and strengthen the rule of law and respect for human rights. Lastly, as far as political protests even violent protests are concerned, the civilian institutions should be empowered to adjudicate upon the civilian matters. It shall create a further situation of mistrust between military and the people, if civilians are trialed by the military’s courts.

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