Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice-President Hamid Khan on Monday criticized the review pleas filed by caretaker governments at the center and in the provinces against the Supreme Court judgment declaring as unconstitutional military trials of civilians under the Pakistan Army Act.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore alongside members of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA), he stressed that caretaker governments lack the mandate to challenge court judgments. Even if they had the mandate, he claimed, the interim governments were all currently “unconstitutional,” as their 90-day terms had expired. The 90-day deadline for elections after dissolution of an assembly in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa expired in April, while the terms of the federal, Balochistan and Sindh governments similarly ended earlier this month.
Reiterating the PTI’s view that the Constitution was being “violated” in the country, Khan maintained that caretaker governments cannot interfere in constitutional matters. He also praised the Supreme Court’s decision—which most favors PTI workers and leaders facing military trials over their alleged role in the May 9 violence targeting military assets—noting one of the petitioners had been the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA). “All lawyers are in favor of the decision given by the SC,” he claimed.
Also addressing the gathering, Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) President Choudhary Ishatiaq Ahmad Khan—a member of the PTI’s Insaaf Lawyers Forum—said the legal fraternity supported the apex court and could never accept military courts. He also paid tribute to judges who had issued the verdict and demanded all caretaker governments withdraw their appeals immediately.
LHCBA Vice President Rabia Bajwa, similarly, said the Supreme Court’s decision was in accordance with the Constitution and law and regretted a recent Senate resolution urging the apex court to revisit its decision on military courts.
The lawyers’ press conference came after the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and the federal governments filed review pleas against last month’s judgment, seeking for the restoration of sections of the Official Secrets Act that were declared illegal.