- Khawaja says his stance not new on matter of civilians’ military trial.
- Ex-CJP says he met PTI chief 15 years ago at a wedding party.
- Separate constitutional pleas against military trials sub judice in SC.
Former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Jawwad S Khawaja has said that the constitutional plea he filed in the Supreme Court against the trial of civilians in military courts does not support Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, The News reported.
The government had decided to try civilians under army laws after enraged protesters belonging to the PTI vandalised army installations following the arrest of their party chief amid May 9 mayhem.
Separate constitutional petitions had been filed by the PTI chief, former chief justice Khawaja, legal expert Aitzaz Ahsan, and five civil society members, including Piler Executive Director Karamat Ali, moving the apex court to declare the military trials unconstitutional.
The pleas are currently sub judice in the SC under a six-member bench headed by incumbent CJP Umar Ata Bandial.
In an explanatory statement issued on Monday, the former top judge said that his petition was entirely in the public interest.
“My stance is not new on the matter of civilian’s trial in the military courts,” adding that he had made the observation as the apex court judge in 2015, during the hearing of 21st Amendment case, that civilians could not be prosecuted in the military courts.
“Those, who are terming my plea as my personal or family matter, are either oblivious to me or misleading public,” said Khawaja.
“My petition is not in support of PTI chief Imran Khan. I met Imran 15 years ago in a wedding party. I have a 46-year acquaintance with Hamid Khan but I did not confer with him on the matter,” he concluded.
Former CJP Khawaja filed a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, challenging the trials of civilians through military courts.
The Federation of Pakistan has been made respondent through the law, defence secretaries, and provincial chief secretaries have been made respondents in the plea.
The former chief justice submitted that the instant petition does not seek to support or attack any political party or institution, adding that it raises an important constitutional question involving fundamental rights that requires adjudication in the present circumstances.
“The petitioner has no personal interest in this case and the relief sought is for the benefit of all citizens regardless of political affiliation,” Justice (retd) Khawaja said in the petition, submitted through his counsel Khawaja Ahmad Hosain.
The former CJP prayed the apex court to declare that when ordinary courts are functioning, court martial of civilians by military courts is unconstitutional.