Imran files constitutional petition in Apex court

ISLAMABAD (Agencies): Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court (SC) against the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2023 and the Official Secrets (Amendment) Act, 2023. In his petition, filed through Advocate Shoaib Shaheen, the PTI chairman prayed the court to declare both the Acts ‘unconstitutional’ since President Arif Alvi had not signed them.

He further prayed to the court to suspend both the laws unless it gave verdict in the case. Imran said that the Acts in question were contrary to Articles 8, 10 and 19. Three days ago, on September 6, 2023 (Wednesday), the Sindh Bar Council (SBC) had approached the SC against the trial of civilians in military courts.

The SBC, in its petition, had stated that the charging the accused persons in relation to the various acts of violence on May 9 and May 10 throughout Pakistan under the Official Secrets Act 1923 and the Pakistan Army Act 1952 is, apart from being unconstitutional, patently beyond the scope of the said acts and is a colourable exercise of power and without jurisdiction.

The petitioner had urged the court to declare that the trial of civilians under military laws and before military tribunals was not only in violation of the Constitution but also of Pakistan’s international treaty and convention obligations and could not be countenanced under any circumstances.

The development came days after President Dr Arif Alvi’s statement on August 20, 2023 that he had not signed the bills led to a controversy. The president had attributed the confusion to his staff’s actions. The revelation plunged the country into a state of chaos. In a social media post, the president vehemently denied giving his assent to the two bills. He, however, admitted that his staff had failed to return the bills to parliament within the stipulated 10-day time period as mandated by Article 75 of the Constitution.