In a recent session of the National Assembly, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif emphasized the need to prevent further interference by the judiciary in parliamentary affairs, asserting that the judiciary has already encroached upon the powers of the legislative branch. Asif’s remarks came amidst ongoing discussions about the trial of civilians in military courts, which has been brought before the Supreme Court for deliberation. The defense minister highlighted that the Supreme Court bench has divided on the matter, and the outcome is anticipated soon.
Asif pointed out that those who have raised concerns regarding the trial of civilians in military courts have political interests, suggesting that the petitioner’s harbor reservations within their respective parties. He further expressed his dismay over the violent incidents that occurred on May 9, targeting sensitive state institutions and memorials of martyrs. Asif firmly stated that such crimes have no place in the nation’s history, as they pose a threat to the integrity of the state.
The defense minister’s comments coincide with the ongoing hearings in the Supreme Court regarding the trial of alleged May 9 rioters in military courts. Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial, formed a nine-member larger bench to consider the petitions filed by former Chief Justice Jawad S Khawaja and others on this matter.
Emphasizing the significance of national honor and dignity, Asif urged the parliament to safeguard these values and send a resolute message that compromises on national honor would not be tolerated. He stressed the importance of leaving a positive legacy that would be remembered with admiration by future generations. Asif also acknowledged the sacrifices made by those who lay down their lives for the country, considering them as true benefactors of the nation.
Referring to the May 9 incident, Asif highlighted that while it is uncertain whether individuals have been tried in military courts for this crime, it is evident that some individuals will face military court trials. He suggested that certain political workers were incited to commit acts of violence by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief on that fateful day.
The defense minister condemned the desecration of martyrs’ memorials, expressing his deep shame over such actions. He mentioned that the attackers of the General Headquarters (GHQ) have been identified, although some are still at large.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Raja Pervez Ashraf, drew attention to the risk of conflict in the Akhtar Jan Mengal area of Balochistan. He urged the defense minister to intervene and contact the relevant authorities to prevent the escalation of the conflict. Asif assured the Speaker that he would take immediate action, issuing necessary instructions to address the situation and striving to restore peace in the area.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s call for judicial restraint and protection of Parliament’s powers highlights the ongoing debate surrounding the trial of civilians in military courts. The minister’s appeal to uphold national honor resonates with the need to prioritize the country’s dignity above political interests. Asif’s commitment to addressing the conflicts and maintaining peace demonstrates the government’s dedication to ensuring stability within the nation.