Families seek justice for May 9 detainees

Urge SC for full bench, appeal to COAS for compassion

Imran Adnan April 24, 2024
Supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) throw stones after police fire tear gas to disperse them in Lahore on May 9, 2023. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE


Families of individuals detained since the May 9 protests last year are urgently calling upon Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa, to convene a full bench of the apex court to review the cases of their loved ones.

Many of them have languished in military custody for nearly a year, prompting deep concerns and appeals for justice.

During a news conference, these families made heartfelt appeals to Chief of Army Staff, General Asim Munir, urging him to demonstrate compassion and initiate an investigation into the matter. They emphasized that the majority of those held in military custody were law-abiding citizens who deserve fair treatment and due process.

Standing alongside senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Ali Muhammad Khan, Raoof Hassan, and Barrister Abuzar Niazi, the families shared their distress and frustrations over the prolonged detention of their loved ones.

Read more: SC refers military courts case to committee for bench constitution

Sidra Murtaza, whose brother was arrested on May 9, 2023, recounted his harrowing journey through various levels of custody, from the police to the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), and finally to military detention.

She expressed regret that the Supreme Court has yet to deliver a ruling or assemble a full bench to hear their cases. Stressing the importance of fair trials in civilian courts, Sidra's sentiments were echoed by PTI leader Ali Muhammad Khan, who emphasized bipartisan agreement that civilians should not be subjected to military courts.

He urged the Supreme Court to prioritize the issue and form a larger bench to address these concerns.

Taimoor Majeed, whose brother was arrested on August 13 for participating in a protest outside the Corps Commander House in Lahore Cantt, shared the challenges his family faced in obtaining information about his brother's whereabouts. It took them five months to ascertain that he was being held in military custody.

Read: Trying civilians in military courts ‘against int'l law’

The families are advocating for a fair and transparent investigation process, coupled with the assurance of a fair trial in civilian courts and the opportunity to meet their detained loved ones. Their demand for justice is fueled by the anguish of seeing their relatives endure prolonged incarceration and uncertain legal status.

Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court adjourned the hearing of a case of torching of police vehicles in Mughalpura, against PTI leaders Dr Yasmin Rashid and others until May 11. The court stated that copies of the challan would be distributed among the accused on the next hearing date.

ATC duty judge Arshad Javed presided over the proceedings. Dr Yasmin Rashid, Mehmoodur Rasheed, Senator Ejaz Chaudhry, Omar Sarfraz Cheema, and other accused were presented in the court.

The Mughalpura police registered the case against them.

With additional input from APP


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