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Uproar in Pakistan’s Senate over resolution backing military courts to try Imran Khan's supporters

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NewsDrum Desk
15 Nov 2023
New Update

Islamabad, Nov 15 (PTI) Scores of senators from three major political parties in Pakistan have staged a protest in the Senate against the hasty passage of a resolution which rejected the Supreme Court’s verdict on military courts, and called for its immediate withdrawal, media reports said on Wednesday.

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The Supreme Court on October 23 declared the trial of civilians in military courts as “null and void” and ordered authorities to conduct the hearing of the cases of former prime minister Imran Khan's supporters arrested for their involvement in the May 9 violent protests in ordinary criminal courts.

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court had ordered that 102 accused arrested under the Army Act be tried in the criminal court.

In a sharp turn of events, senators from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) strongly protested in the Senate on Tuesday against the passage of a resolution a day earlier which rejected the Supreme Court’s verdict on military courts, The News International newspaper reported.

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Earlier on Monday, a resolution was moved in the House in the presence of about a dozen lawmakers and adopted, it said. The protesting senators also demanded to withdraw the (same) resolution.

The Senate witnessed uproar over the issue. Due to the strong protest by the senators and lack of quorum, Deputy Chairman Mirza Muhammad Afridi adjourned the proceedings within minutes, the Dawn newspaper reported.

As the House resumed, PML-N member Saadia Abbasi lodged a vehement protest, forcing the deputy chairman to allow her to speak. Pointing out that the resolution was passed “when only 11-12 members were present by ignoring the rules and regulations.” The House, Abbasi said, was used for the adoption of such a resolution as a negation of democracy.

The Dawn report said that the two-page resolution was tabled by independent senator Dilawar Khan and supported only by Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) senators. “It had termed the SC’s October 23 verdict ‘an attempt to rewrite the law’ and an ‘impingement upon the legislative authority of the parliament’ and had asked the Supreme Court to ‘reconsider’ it,” it said.

Amid protests and uproar, the deputy chairman adjourned the sitting till Friday morning after declaring that the House was not in order due to lack of quorum, for which the presence of one-fourth members (26 members) is required in the 100-member Senate, the Dawn report said. Only 15 senators were present in the house when the quorum was pointed out, it added. PTI NPK AKJ NPK NPK

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