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Civilians’ trial case: SC to be bulwark against any unconstitutional step, says CJP Bandial

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Civilians' trial case: SC to be bulwark against any unconstitutional step, says CJP Bandial

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday adjourned the hearing of a set of petitions challenging the trial of civilians in military courts for an indefinite period. 

In a remark during the course of proceedings, CJP Umar Ata Bandial categorically said the apex court would not allow the army to go for any unconstitutional step.

A six-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha Malik heard the petitions. 

At the outset of the hearing, senior lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan came to the rostrum and asked the court to take a suo motu notice on proposed amendments to the Official Secrets Act.

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He said the new law empowered intelligence agencies to search anyone at any time without getting warrant, adding that unlimited powers had been given to the spy agencies under the bill without any legislation. He added that there was a martial law-like situation in the country.

At this point, the chief justice asked whether the amendments made to the Officials Secrets Act were a bill or had been approved as law. Aitzaz replied that it was under consideration in the Senate. 

Saying he was not much aware of the development, the CJP said as per the previous apex court’s ruling, the CJP alone could not take a suo motu notice. 

Later, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan presented his arguments. He said the assurances given to the court regarding civilians’ trial in the military courts would be implemented. 

At one point, Justice Akhtar said the military trial of civilians was tantamount to having a parallel judicial system in the country. 

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The attorney general said military courts operated like the tribunals handled by the people associated with the armed forces and defence institutions. He added that court martial could not be carried out by courts formed under Article 175 of the Constitution, hence there was no right to appeal in it.

Justice Bandial said the apex court was reviewing the constitutional status of trial of civilians for committing an offence under the Army Act.

The AGP said a civilian, who is involved in a crime related to the armed forces, could be sent to military courts for trial.

During the hearing, the chief justice said it was not possible to conduct hearing of the petitions in the next two weeks and later adjourned the case for an indefinite period.

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Senator Vawda for reexamination of non-filers’ exemption for Hajj and Umrah

Senator Vawda for reexamination of non-filers’ exemption for Hajj and Umrah

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Senator Vawda for reexamination of non-filers' exemption for Hajj and Umrah

Senator Faisal Vawda has said the exemptions to the non-filers for Hajj and Umrah package should be reexamined.

Speaking at the Senate Committee on Finance meeting on budget, he questioned why non-filers were given exemption for Hajj and Umrah.

He said the media employees’ salaries were cut down during the Covid pandemic which should be returned to them immediately.

However, the committee chairman asked the senator to suggest the meeting what can be done in this regard?

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A meeting should be held with the Ministry of Information to make housing schemes and give incentives to the media workers to mitigate their hardships, Vawda suggested.

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COAS Munir pledges full support for successful implementation of CPEC

COAS Munir pledges full support for successful implementation of CPEC

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COAS Munir pledges full support for successful implementation of CPEC

Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to the strategic partnership with China and pledged full support for the successful implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

He expressed the resolve during a meeting with Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC), who called on him at General Headquarters on Friday.

During the meeting, both discussed matters of mutual interest, including regional peace and stability, and reviewed progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Mr. Liu Jianchao highlighted that he is visiting Pakistan as a follow up of the successful meetings between the leadership of the two countries in China.

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Also Read: All parties on same page for execution of CPEC project: Deputy PM Ishaq Dar

He emphasised the significance of the longstanding brotherly relations between the two nations and expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved on CPEC, reiterating China’s commitment to its timely completion.

The visiting dignitary also commended Pakistan’s efforts in maintaining regional peace and stability, acknowledging the support of the Pakistan Armed Forces in providing security to Chinese nationals and projects in Pakistan.

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All political parties back CPEC, call it game changer

All political parties back CPEC, call it game changer

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All political parties back CPEC, call it game changer

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman declared that there is a national consensus on CPEC in Pakistan.

Addressing the Pakistan-China joint consultative session, Maulana remarked that China always unconditionally supported Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, and Pakistan similarly supported China on the Taiwan issue. He stressed the need to complete suspended projects with China and enhance further cooperation, asserting that China’s protocol should remain intact.

Yusuf Raza Gilani

Senate Chairman Yusuf Raza Gilani, while addressing the meeting, highlighted that CPEC is a crucial project for economic development and that the fellowship between Pakistan and China is higher than the Himalayas. He described CPEC as the backbone of the Pakistani economy and a warrantor of a better future and development for both countries.

Ayaz Sadiq

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Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq said that Pakistan and China are supporters of peace and prosperity in the region. He believed that the CPEC project significantly contributed to social and economic development. Sadiq noted that CPEC would be strengthened by promoting relations between the political parties of Pakistan and China and that the BRI project further reinforced the ties between the two states. He mentioned that the CPEC project faced disinformation in the past. He said that despite it the project remains a catalyst for poverty reduction, economic growth, and trade promotion.

More to read: Pakistan, China agree to explore opportunities under CPEC

Ahsan Iqbal

Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, speaking at the China-Pakistan Consultative Mechanism meeting, highlighted the unique friendly relations between Pakistan and China. He reiterated the national consensus on CPEC and assured that the Pakistani nation would never forget China’s support. Ahsan Iqbal stressed the importance of working together to secure the future and that the exchange of delegations would foster harmony between politicians from both sides. He highlighted that the political parties’ sitting together demonstrates a united political leadership. He thanked the Chinese leadership for their cooperation during Pakistan’s challenging times and mentioned that two-sided relations and cooperation were discussed during the Prime Minister’s visit to China.

Hina Rabbani Khar

Pakistan People’s Party leader and former minister Hina Rabbani Khar affirmed that all political parties are united in support of CPEC and underscored the significant role of Pakistan and China in the global scheme. She praised China’s progress in science and technology and noted that the People’s Party leadership laid the foundation for Pakistan-China relations. She mentioned that these relations were continued by Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari, and Bilawal Bhutto. Khar welcomed the representation of all political parties in the joint session. 

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