Military Justice System of Pakistan

The Military Justice System of Pakistan is based on the inter-services administrated Judge Advocate General Branch (JAG); all military criminal cases are supervised by the military’s high-ranking officials of joint courts. Each major military branch has its service law:

  • Army Justice Act was promulgated in 1952.
  • The PAF Justice Act, established in 1953.
  • The Navy Ordinance, enacted in 1961

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The identities of active-duty uniformed JAG officials are held classified, and no details of such individuals are made available to media.

The individual major service branches administer all three sets of service laws under the central reporting supervision of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The Pak Army has a four-tier system; the Air Force, Navy and Marines have three systems. The two top levels of all three-tier systems are the general court-martial and district court-martial; the third level comprises the general field court-martial in the Army, Air Force and Navy.

The fourth-level tier of the military contains the summary court-martial. The differences in tier levels reflect whether their competence extends to officers or enlisted personnel and the severity of the punishment that may be imposed.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court and the civilian courts cannot object to the military judges’ decisions, and double jeopardy is prohibited.

In cases where a military member is claimed to have committed a crime against a civilian, then the MoD and Ministry of Justice (MoJ) fix the case’s prosecution.

Former service members in civilian life who are involved in offences committed while on active duty are liable for prosecution under military courts’ jurisdiction. These courts are allowed to assign a wide range of punishments, including death. All orders of imprisonment are served in military prisons or detention barracks.

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