ISLAMABAD (Staff report) – The Supreme Court has rejected petitions filed against the 18th and 21st Constitutional Amendments and military courts here on Wednesday .
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A 17-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nasirul Mulk had reserved the verdict on the 35 identical applications against the two constitutional amendments on June 27.
A 17-member bench dismissed the petitions challenging the 21st amendment with 11 judges voting to reject the pleas and six in favour. Petitions challenging the 18th amendment were also rejected by a majority 14-3 vote. The verdict was announced by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk and Justice Dost Muhammad.
Meanwhile, the apex court in its ruling also upheld the establishment of military courts in Pakistan.
Military courts were formed under the 21st Constitutional Amendment and the Pakistan Army Act 1952 to try terrorism suspects following the Taliban massacre on Peshawar’s Army Public School in December.
The establishment of the military courts was challenged in the pleas against the 21st Constitutional amendment by the Supreme Court Bar Association, the Lahore High Court Bar Association and other lawyers’ bodies, auguring that the military courts were an expression of no-confidence on prevailing judiciary.
Terming the military courts a violation of basic human rights, the applications argued the top court could strike down any legislation that is against basic human rights and the basic structure of the Constitution.
The apex court had halted the execution of six militant handed down the death sentence by these military.
But the verdict today upholds the establishment of the special courts, paving way for terrorism cases to continue to be heard by the military courts.