Pakistan considers reviving military courts to try Kulbhushan Jadhav amidst judiciary distrust

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Amid distrust of judiciary, Pakistan plans to revive military courts as it seeks to try Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national sentenced to death by one of these courts. The government’s wariness stems from the judiciary’s perceived protection of ex-PM Imran Khan. Military courts typically handle cases involving civilians accused of terrorism.

(Representational Image: Reuters)

In light of the Pakistani government’s lack of trust in the judiciary, particularly due to its perceived protection of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, there are discussions about introducing legislation to revive military courts.

One prominent case that underwent trial in a military court was that of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who received a death sentence.

Initially established in response to the devastating attack carried out by the Pakistani Taliban on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014, resulting in the tragic loss of 134 children’s lives, military courts have been considered as a means to address cases related to terrorism.

The military courts, responsible for trying civilians accused of terrorism, were initially established as part of the 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) on January 7, 2015. These courts had a two-year mandate, which expired on January 7.

During their operation, the military courts played a significant role in prosecuting and sentencing numerous Taliban terrorists, leading to several death sentences being handed down.

However, the military courts were eventually abolished and closed, with explicit restrictions placed on implicating any civilians under the Army Act or the Official Secrets Act.

Amidst the prevailing distrust of the government towards the judiciary, which has faced allegations of providing favorable treatment to former Prime Minister Imran Khan in cases against him, there are discussions about the potential reinstatement of military courts.

This matter is expected to be deliberated upon during the upcoming high-level meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) at the Prime Minister’s residence on Tuesday.

The government has two options to consider: utilizing the National Action Plan (NAP) to revive the military courts or introducing a Bill in Parliament to amend the Constitution and the Army Act, thereby expanding the jurisdiction of military courts to include the trial of civilians charged with terrorism offenses.

Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national, also underwent trial in the same military court and was sentenced to death. However, India challenged the ruling in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), resulting in a stay on the execution of the sentence.

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Toshika Chauhan

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