Conflicts & War

Pakistan army adamant on trying civilians in military courts despite opposition

Islamabad, June 7 (EFE).- The Pakistan army on Wednesday insisted that the civilians who ransacked military installations during May 9 violence will be tried in military courts despite opposition from rights groups.

Several unarmed protesters had vandalized and set on fire some military properties and installations following the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 9.

Pakistani authorities have, so far, handed over 33 civilians to military for trials which are held behind closed doors with no access to media or rights groups.

A statement issued by the powerful military’s media wing said that the attackers of military installations would be brought to justice speedily under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act calling them derivatives of the constitution of the country.

“While the legal trials of perpetrators and instigators have commenced, it is time that noose of law is also tightened around the planners and masterminds who mounted the hate ripened and politically driven rebellion against the state and state institutions to achieve their nefarious design of creating chaos in the country,” said the military’s Inter-Services Public Relations.

The decision was taken during a meeting of formation commanders conference held at the military’s general headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Rights groups including Human Rights Watch (HRW), Pakistan Human Rights Commission and others have opposed the government’s decision to prosecute civilian in military courts.

Last week, the HRW urged the Pakistan government to immediately transfer civilians set to be tried in military courts to the civilian justice system.

“Trying civilians before military courts violates Pakistan’s obligations under international human rights law to ensure the due process and fair trial rights of criminal suspects,” the rights watchdog said in a statement.

Khan has said that he had no doubt that he would also be tried in a military court to keep him away from running the elections.

General elections in the country are due in October this year. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has claimed more than 10000 of its workers and supporters have been detained during the last month in an “unprecedented crackdown” in the history of the country.

The military has denied Khan’s allegations.

“Unfounded and baseless allegations on law enforcement agencies and security forces for custodial torture, human rights abuses and stifling of political activities are meant to mislead the people and malign armed forces in order to achieve trivial vested political interests,” the ISPR statement said. EFE


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