RAWALPINDI – Adil Raja & Haider Mehdi Court Martial has been conducted by the Army today. Pakistani military’s Field General Court Martial (FGCM) has convicted two former officers of Pakistan Army under Pakistan Army Act 1952.
As per the news sources, FGMC has awarded 14 years of rigorous imprisonment to Major (retd) Adil Farooq Raja while Captain (retd) Haider Mehdi has been awarded 12 years in jail.
The armed forces’ media wing said the former soldiers were charged with inciting sedition among army personnel from discharge of duties and violation of the provisions of Official Secrets Act 1923 related to espionage and acts prejudicial to the safety and interest of the state.
The court of competent jurisdiction convicted and adjudged both the individuals on October 7 and 9 through due judicial process.
The statement said that Adil Raja was awarded 14 years of rigorous imprisonment and Haider Raza Mehdi 12 years.
“Pursuant to the awarded sentence, the ranks of both officers have been forfeited on 21 November 2023,” it added.
It is to be noted that yet the reaction has not been conveyed by Retd. Adil Raja and and Capt. Retd. Haider Mehdi.
Raja and Mehdi, two individuals residing outside of Pakistan, have been convicted in absentia by a Pakistani military court for their alleged involvement in the May 9 violence that erupted following the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The convictions are unlikely to result in any jail time given the individuals’ absence from Pakistan.
The May 9 riots were marked by widespread violence and attacks on critical military installations.
In June, Islamabad’s Ramna Police Station filed charges against four individuals, including Raja and Mehdi, for inciting the mob during the riots.
According to Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhel, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s caretaker minister for information, 33 cases related to the riots were transferred to military courts in June. Kakakhel also accused Raja of engaging in “anti-state activities.”
The charges against Raja and Mehdi encompass sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) pertaining to criminal conspiracy, waging war against Pakistan, abetting mutiny, and terrorism.
Additionally, they face charges under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 for acts of terrorism, incitement of hatred, and aiding and abetting.
Please stay tuned for further development on the matter.
Court Martial in Pakistan: A Comprehensive Overview
In the realm of Pakistani jurisprudence, a court martial stands as a specialized military tribunal tasked with adjudicating offenses committed by members of the Pakistani Armed Forces.
The Pakistan Army Act of 1952 serves as the bedrock of court martial proceedings, meticulously outlining the structure and operational framework of these military courts.
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The Act establishes a tiered system of courts-martial, each with its own distinct jurisdiction and authority:
- Field General Court Martial (FGCM): The pinnacle of court-martial authority, vested with the power to handle the most grave offenses, encompassing treason, espionage, and murder.
- Summary General Court Martial (SGCM): Occupying a middling position, the SGCM adjudicates offenses of moderate severity, falling short of the gravity warranting an FGCM trial.
- Summary Court Martial (SCM): Situated at the lower end of the spectrum, the SCM addresses minor infractions, such as disobedience of orders and dereliction of duty.
Court-martial proceedings are spearheaded by a panel of seasoned military officers, with the presiding authority vested in a judge advocate general (JAG) officer.
The accused individual enjoys the right to legal representation, and the proceedings, in principle, are open to public scrutiny.
Pakistan Army sentences Adil Raja to 14-year imprisonment, Haider Mehdi 12 was also conducted under same principle.
The utilization of court martial in Pakistan has ignited contentious debates, with critics voicing concerns about its potential to undermine the civilian justice system and erode the fundamental right to a fair trial.
In recent years, there has been a growing clamor for curtailing the recourse to court martial and subjecting military courts to the oversight of the civilian judiciary.
Key Issues Surrounding Court Martial in Pakistan:
- Jurisdiction over Civilians: The Pakistan Army Act, under specific circumstances, authorizes the trial of civilians by military courts. For instance, when a civilian stands accused of an offense against a member of the armed forces. This practice has drawn criticism for violating the right to a fair trial.
- Transparency and Accountability: Enveloping court-martial proceedings is often a veil of secrecy, hindering transparency and accountability. This lack of transparency impedes the assessment of the fairness and impartiality of court martial proceedings.
- Right to Appeal: The avenues for appealing against a court martial conviction are limited. This restriction leaves accused individuals with limited recourse in the event of an unjust conviction.
The intricate nature of court martial in Pakistan precludes simplistic solutions. Striking a balance between maintaining discipline within the armed forces and safeguarding the rights of accused individuals remains a pressing challenge.
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