Lawyers demand strengthening existing criminal justice system

KARACHI: Former president Supreme Court Bar Association Yaseen Azad said on Saturday the bar associations will go to the court against draft legislation for setting up military courts if it negated very spirit of the country’s constitution.

Addressing a press conference at apex court’s Karachi registry, he said the lawyer community has agreed with the political leadership and the government’s all decisions to uproot the terrorism except formation of the military courts because of its dissonance with the constitution.

He said the apex court had struck down the establishment of military courts in 1999 when it was approached. Once again, he added, the government was going to legislate for the formation of the same courts.

Azad called upon the government to strengthen the existing criminal justice system by increasing number of courts and providing protection to the judges.

He said after the Peshawar School massacre and subsequent developments, the apex court had directed the subordinate judiciary to expeditiously try terrorism case and formed a committee comprising SC’s judges to monitor performance of the courts, adding the superior judiciary had given soft message to the government that it was capable of dealing with state of affairs and clear the backlog of terrorism cases.

Azad said the legislature should enact the laws but beware of legislating anything that crushed the fundamental rights of the citizens. He stressed that every institution should work within its limits to avoid serious constitutional crisis.

Supreme Court Bar Association’s senior vice president, Advocate Shabbir Awan said the laws are enacted but they were not properly enforced. The government should provide resources to the existing courts, which were set up under the constitution, to tackle the terrorism case.

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