Decision to impose martial law rests with individuals, not army as institution: CJP

Justice Isa says ZAB case gives opportunity to institutions to disassociate from wrongdoing to these individuals


ISLAMABAD (Agencies): Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Justice Qazi Faez Isa, underscored on Tuesday that the imposition of martial law is not an action taken by the army as a collective body but rather by specific individuals.

His remarks came during the hearing on the presidential reference filed by former president Asif Ali Zardari on April 2, 2011, under Article 186 of the Constitution, aiming to review the trial of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s murder.

“Martial law is not implemented by the army as a whole. Certain individuals act independently. Perhaps it’s time for a fresh start. Could this be a way for institutions to disassociate themselves by attributing wrongdoing to these individuals?” CJP Isa remarked.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah highlighted the significance of due process in the court proceedings. CJP Isa emphasised the clarity of the court’s jurisdiction, asserting that a case cannot be reviewed multiple times.

During the session, attention was drawn to remarks made in an interview by a judge, indicating pressure while announcing the verdict. Responding to this, CJP Isa emphasised the importance of bearing pressure and maintaining impartiality on the bench.

The discussion delved into the procedural aspects of the case, with Justice Mansoor Ali Shah raising questions on how to proceed under Article 186 and the admissibility of evidence. Justice Jamal posed inquiries regarding external pressures and requested relevant records.

The CJP also highlighted the need for the prosecution to maintain transparency. The hearing was adjourned until February 26, as the Supreme Court continues to deliberate on the matter.

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