No Cases Against Women from May 9 Violence Sent to Military Courts: Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar

No Cases Against Women from May 9 Violence Sent to Military Courts: Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar

Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar announced on Wednesday that no cases involving women accused of violent acts following the arrest of PTI chairman Imran Khan on May 9 have been forwarded to military courts. 

He pledged to uphold standards of fair trial as mandated under various international laws, particularly referencing Article 14 of the International Covenants for Civil and Political Rights 1966 (ICCPR). The minister assured that these norms would be followed in all military court prosecutions. 

The law minister further elaborated on the accused’s legal rights as outlined in international law. He underscored their entitlement to select their legal representation, present evidence in their defense, access records being used against them, and seek judicial review against the trial court’s verdict. 

Speaking to reporters at the Supreme Court building, Minister Tarar clarified that the decision to try a case in a military or civilian court is dictated by law, rather than at the discretion of the federal government or any related authority. 

He stressed that evidence against the accused determines the appropriate court for trial. The decision to refer a case to a military court is made after careful analysis of material provided by the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Branch, the military’s legal division, by the presiding judge of the relevant anti-terrorism court, based on incriminating evidence against the defendant. 

To date, 74 cases have been directed to the military courts, but none involve women, the law minister added. 

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According to informed sources, the government, through the Foreign Office, is working to engage the international community in order to address concerns expressed by civil society and international groups about alleged violations of fundamental rights and unwarranted detentions. 

Recent reports indicate that international bodies, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Amnesty International, have voiced concerns. They assert that civilian trials in military courts violate international human rights law, infringing upon the right to a fair trial as guaranteed under Article 14 of the ICCPR. 

The UN Human Rights Committee, in its General Comment on Article 14 of the ICCPR, confirmed that the “fundamental principles of fair trial” are non-negotiable. As a signatory to the ICCPR in 2010, Pakistan is obligated to comply with these international commitments. 

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