Islamabad, 22 July, 2023 (GNP): The federal government has assured the Supreme Court that convictions over the May 9 violence will not entail capital punishment. However, it seeks time to consider granting a substantive right of appeal against military court decisions. The Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP), Mansoor Usman Awan, emphasized that this matter requires careful consideration due to its direct bearing on cases like that of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.
During the hearing of challenges to the trial of civilians by military courts, the AGP assured the court that no trial of the 102 suspects in military custody would begin without prior intimation to the Supreme Court. Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, heading the six-judge bench, stressed the importance of having a direct right of appeal to ensure enforcement of citizens’ rights and emphasized that independence of the judiciary is a fundamental right.
While the AGP clarified that the family members and private counsel engaged by the suspects would have access to the trial proceedings, senior counsel Sardar Abdul Latif Khosa argued that the suspects were living in a pathetic state. The court considered appointing a retired judge or a group of advocates to inspect the conditions in which the suspects were housed.
The next hearing is scheduled for August 1, when the government will apprise the court about the recording of evidence during the trial of suspects under the procedure applicable to criminal courts, not the Pakistan Army Act (PAA).