The caretaker Sindh government clarified that it had not approached the Supreme Court to contest its decision, which declared the military court trials of civilians unconstitutional.
The interim Chief Minister Maqbool Baqar spokesperson stated, “The Sindh government has not filed any appeal to the Supreme Court on military trials. The [claims] are baseless.” The statement refutes earlier reports from November 16 suggesting that the interim Sindh government and the Shuhada Forum of Balochistan had requested the Supreme Court to overturn its judgment on military court trials.
Further solidifying the government’s stance, the provincial advocate general also dismissed reports of filing a plea to the Supreme Court against its October 23 judgment. This ruling declared the military trial of civilians arrested in connection with the May 9 mayhem null and void. Lawyers and civil rights activists initially welcomed the ruling.
Appeals Filed by Federal and Provincial Governments
In contrast to Sindh’s position, the caretaker federal and provincial governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan and the Ministry of Defence filed intra-court appeals against the Supreme Court’s judgment. They specifically sought to overturn the October 23 ruling and restore sections of the Official Secrets Act, which had been declared illegal.
The Supreme Court’s larger bench, led by Justice Ijazul Ahsan and including Justices Munib Akhtar, Yayha Afridi, Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Ayesha A Malik, had announced the verdict, declaring civilian trials in military courts invalid. The ruling also stated that criminal courts could try the 103 individuals implicated in the May 9 and 10 events under the ordinary or special law of the land.
The government of Shehbaz Sharif, who completed his term in August and transitioned power to a caretaker government ahead of the January elections. The controversy began with widespread protests by supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and others against military trials, citing a lack of transparency, especially after the brief arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan by the Punjab Rangers. These protests saw supporters storm military and government buildings and even set fire to a general’s house.