Trials of civilians in Military Courts: Let the terrorists play havoc , let the judges enjoy their Summer Vacations

DND Thought CenterTrials of civilians in Military Courts: Let the terrorists play havoc ,...

Islamabad, Pakistan: The hearing on the appeals against the nullification of the trials of civilians in military courts has been adjourned for an indefinite period by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. This decision has come when terrorism is on the rise in Pakistan and almost daily security forces are being targeted by terrorists.

PTI that does not want military trials is the same one that invited the TTP back to Pakistan during its rule and resettled over 5,000 TTP terrorists inside Pakistan on the advice (might be instructions) of the interim government of Afghan Taliban who are overtly collaborating with TTP to harm Pakistan. PTI that rules KP province is allegedly providing space to TTP where police are not allowed to check vehicles on certain routes and areas that are almost getting under the control of TTP terrorists even the provincial government of KP is not attending funerals of martyrs, sending the loud and clear message that it is not a part of the war against TTP. It is clear recently when the funerals of policemen were held in Peshawar police lane, no government officials including the chief minister attended. Army soldiers are also being martyred in KP, but no one from the government is coming to these funerals and the martyrs are not being shouldered. It is loud and clear that PTI stands apart from the war against terrorism, and is only interested in politics.

The Supreme Court’s indefinite postponement of the hearing of a landmark case regarding trials of civilians in military courts has not been welcomed by legal circles. Especially at such a time, the hearing of this important case was postponed for an indefinite period. This has been testified in the past that regular courts since 2001 have failed to punish terrorists and over 2,000 alleged terrorists got bail and acquittal from regular courts some of them were again arrested while conducting terrorist attacks in the country and some of them even blew themselves up in suicide attacks after getting bails from regular as well as Anti-terrorist courts. At a juncture of time when brave soldiers are sacrificing their lives almost every day, this kind of delaying tactic on the part of the judiciary regarding the military courts has sent a very negative message to all and sundry. Alas, it is claimed by legal circles that this national issue has been compromised by the judiciary purely on a political basis for providing relief to PTI because its workers allegedly involved in the May 9 Mutiny were also being tried by the military courts. The sad fact is that the trials of civilians in military courts, some elements are not only raising questions on the establishment of military courts and their necessity but are also engaged in negative propaganda about it, using various platforms. After the hearing of this case has been adjourned for an indefinite period, propaganda will be in top throttle for the release of the accused on May 9. A separate petition may be filed to release the accused arrested on May 9 in the military courts.

Legal circles in Islamabad claim that adjournment of the hearing for an indefinite period is actually giving relief to the miscreants of May 9, which will have the effect of benefiting the terrorists and miscreants.

There is no doubt that the eyes of the people are focused on the honorable judiciary because the importance of the case of the trials of civilians in the military courts has increased in the context of the security situation in the country at the moment once again. This week has been terrible as five young men were martyred in a terrorist attack, while on July 9 in North Waziristan, Captain Muhammad Osama Bin Rashid martyred himself while bravely fighting against terrorists and three more young men sacrificed their lives for the motherland in the same area but in another event of terrorism.

The sad fact is that some elements are not only raising questions about the establishment of military courts and their necessity but are also engaged in negative propaganda regarding the trials of civilians in military courts. The main question is why is the establishment of military courts necessary and what conclusions can be drawn from it.

Before talking about the establishment of military courts in Pakistan, one should look into the establishment of military courts and commissions for the immediate delivery of justice around the world. Many countries of the world have established military courts to end terrorism and evil, among which the United States is at the top. For the first time in the United States, military courts were established by General George Washington during the American Revolution. In the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865, ethnic Americans who fought with the state were also hanged by military courts. After the war with Spain in 1898, the United States established a military commission in the Philippines. During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt established a military tribunal to execute eight German prisoners. These people were accused of spying on the US under ‘Operation Pastores’ and creating chaos in the country. Military courts were established in Egypt after the revolution. These military courts established in Egypt have so far decided cases against hundreds of extremists. The Indian Parliament passed a bill called the ‘Armed Forces Tribunal’ in 2007 and on August 8, 2009, the then President of India inaugurated this military court. These courts were established in New Delhi and regional branches in Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kolkatta, Guwahati, Chennai, Kochi, Mumbai, and Jaipur.

The most tragic incident of terrorism in Pakistan was the terrorist attack on Army Public School Peshawar in December 2014 in which 144 students were martyred. After this incident, the civil and military leadership of the country sat together and agreed on a 20-point national action plan. One point in this plan was related to the temporary establishment of military courts until the justice system is improved. To achieve this goal, the 21st amendment was made to the Constitution of Pakistan with the consensus of all the parliamentary parties. In January 2015, military courts were established. As a result of the decisions made in the context, punishments were given to the terrorists involved in terrorism, which are proving to be helpful in ending terrorism and mischief in the country.

Now let’s talk about May 9, 2023, when the miscreants of PTI attacked the national security institutions and the memorials of martyrs. After the arrest of miscreants, it was decided that they would be tried in military courts because they target military installations and military personnel. In this regard, an appeal was filed in the High Court of where a five-judge bench unanimously ruled that all civilians involved in the incidents on May 9 and 10 should be tried instead of military courts. The case should be tried in the civil courts, that is, no civilian can be tried in the military court anymore and a stay order has been given on this issue so no terrorist can be tried in military courts now.

Now there are some questions in the minds of the people, the answers of which are connected with the pending judgments of the Supreme Court. It is not disputed that there should be a right of appeal after the military court’s verdicts, but if those who are involved in terrorism and anti-national activities are released on the basis of political affiliations, social pressure, and weak evidence, then how the state can be run? Is it not necessary that the case of a terrorist, whether he is a civilian or someone else, should be heard only by military courts?

If a terrorist or a miscreant should be a civilian if the judicial system comes under pressure and gives him/her relief, will it not encourage vandalism and terrorism in the country?

Undoubtedly, we cannot say that military courts should try every civilian, but today, if court decisions come against military courts, who will hear the case of terrorists associated with Tehreek-e-Taliban? Will they also be given relief?

It is imperative that in the present judicial system, it is not so easy to take action against the terrorists in which the above-mentioned factors are involved.

Remember, any decision of the Supreme Court is not only to give relief to the miscreants who attacked the state on May 9, but its effect will also go to the terrorists and miscreants involved in other terrorist incidents, then this will benefit TTP, Baloch Liberation Army and other forces hostile to the country. Therefore, it is necessary that the Supreme Judiciary should make decisions regarding military courts instead of pending them for an indefinite period because justice delayed is justice denied. Legal circles say that the hearing has been postponed for an indefinite period as the Summer Vacations of courts would start soon so the case would be looked into after vacations. Can we say ‘Let the terrorists play havoc, let the judges enjoy their Summer Vacations’?

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