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Will stop the army from any unconstitutional move: CJP Bandial

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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday said that the apex court would stop the army from doing anything “unconstitutional” and that the court would “defend the Constitution and the people.”

The CJP’s remarks came during the hearing of identical petitions challenging the trial of civilians in military courts.

A six-member bench, led by the CJP and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Ayesha Malik, heard the case.

The petitions

Following the arrests in connection with the violent riots that erupted across the country on May 9, the government announced its decision to hold military court trials of those found guilty of damaging and attacking military instalments — a move both the government and the army considered a low blow.

In light of this decision, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Khawaja, legal expert Aitzaz Ahsan, and five civil society members, including Piler Executive Director Karamat Ali, requested the apex court to declare the military trials “unconstitutional”.

In this petition filed through his lawyer, the former CJP pleaded that Section 2(1)(d)(i) and (ii) of the Pakistan Army Act were inconsistent with the fundamental rights granted by the Constitution and should be struck down.

Moreover, five members of civil society from different cities — represented by Siddiqi — appealed to the apex court to declare the trial of civilians illegally in the military courts.

Similarly, Ahsan’s petition challenged the government’s decision to try civilians in military courts.

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