Political leaders reach consensus on military courts

Published December 24, 2014
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressing the meeting of parliamentary leaders held at the Prime Minister House. — Courtesy: Prime Minister's Office Facebook page
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressing the meeting of parliamentary leaders held at the Prime Minister House. — Courtesy: Prime Minister's Office Facebook page

ISLAMABAD: Political parties on late Wednesday reached a consensus over the issue of setting up military courts for tackling terrorism cases in the country.

The agreement was reached during a meeting of parliamentary leaders at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which earlier expressed reservations, agreed on the setting up of military tribunals.

The Awami National Party (ANP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) have also reportedly supported the move.

Read also: Martial law better than military courts in Pakistan: Altaf

“This is historic occasion for our nation,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said at the concluding session.

"Our resolve to fight terror is a strong message for those who want to destroy Pakistan. Time for half baked decisions is over," the PM said.

"We have to act fast and whatever is agreed we have to implement it immediately...this agreement is a defining moment for Pakistan and we will eliminate terrorists from this country, he said.

Earlier on, a number of political parties voiced their support for the idea of establishing military courts in the country.

The Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PMLQ) extended support for the setting up of military courts for terrorism trials.

During today's meeting at PM House held in order to chalk out a comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy, PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced his support for the formation of special military courts to hear terrorism cases.

Speaking at the meeting, Imran said there should be a specific time frame for these courts. He also stated that PTI would support all steps being taken for counter terrorism.

Earlier, some PPP leaders at the meeting reportedly said that military courts should be set up for a specific period of time.

However, senior PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan said: "We are for speedy punishment of terrorists and if the draft legislation for military courts is shared with us, we can work out a way within a constitutional and legal framework."

"We will give you our official stance after reading the relevant document on the establishing of military courts,” he said.

PML-Q also extended its support for the establishment of military courts along with Aftab Sherpao of the Qaumi Watan Party.

"I fully support this move, the US also has done the same in the past," Senator Mushahid Hussain told the meeting at PM House.

Balochistan National Party’s Hasil Bizenjo also supported the idea of establishment of military courts and said: "We have to fight the mind set, and stopping now will lead to perpetual failure. If we lose, the next rulers will be the Taliban."

Ijazul Haq, who heads the Pakistan Muslim League – Zia (PML-Z) said military courts were the solution to terrorism.

The ANP had earlier said that they sought time on the matter.

"We need a few days to consult on these military courts. We want to see the legislation first," ANP’s Ghulam Bilour said, adding that irrespective of his party’s view on the establishment of military courts, the state must pull together all its resources “to fight the terrorists”.

Earlier, MQM, JUI-F and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) also raised objection to the idea of military courts.

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