After the incidents of 9th May, the military and the government vowed to try the vandals under the Army Act and the official secrets act, but what are these acts? In this explainer, we will understand the Army Act, 1952 of Pakistan.
The law was mainly made for army personnel but also has a few provisions to try civilians in some instances if they are in some way related to the army. They may be civilians who may have destroyed military installations or are enemy combatants. According to the Law, the accused is to be tried in a military court with an army officer as a judge. Another army officer as a prosecutor, and another officer as the counsel for the accused. While the law is restricted to army officers, to try civilians in military courts, the government has to amend laws for them. Just like it was done to try the perpetrators of the Army public school attack, but they were allowed to do this for 2 years only.
So no problem till now right? They are simple and valid laws of Pakistan, but here come the actual issues; the issues are that the accused may have obviously done something against the army and then the same institute will try the person through its officers who have a chain of command to answer to and may not be fully just in delivering justice. In addition to this, the conviction rate of the military courts are very high, in a report by the International Commission of Jurist in December 2016, since January 2015, 144 people were convicted and sentenced to death and were hanged by military courts.
To make things worse, while the military courts are proceeding, the accused always remains in military custody, and no one is allowed to attend the proceedings other than the authorized.
In the end, it is important to note that Pakistan is a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which are international human rights laws by the UN. Article 14 of the law states that ‘everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law,’ and the above-mentioned terms don’t look just and fair.