A six-member panel of judges in Pakistan’s Supreme Court is currently hearing a series of petitions challenging the practice of trying civilians in military courts. The panel is composed of Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and five other justices. The government has assured the court that convictions resulting from the May 9 violence will not lead to capital punishment. However, the government has asked for more time to consider granting the right of appeal against military court decisions, as this could have significant implications for cases involving individuals like Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav. Former Chief Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, Aitzaz Ahsan, Karamat Ali, and PTI Chairman Imran Khan have filed petitions seeking to declare the trial of civilians in military courts as unconstitutional. Khawaja argues that certain sections of the Pakistan Army Act are inconsistent with constitutional rights and should be struck down. Ahsan’s petition aims to prevent the trial of civilians in military courts for their alleged involvement in the May 9 violence. Imran Khan’s petition calls for the declaration of arrests, investigations, and trials of civilians under the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act to be illegal. The hearings are ongoing, and more updates are expected in the future.
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