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Petition challenging establishment of military courts filed in SC

Updated January 07, 2015

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The Supreme Court of Pakistan. — AFP/File
The Supreme Court of Pakistan. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: A petition challenging the establishment of military courts in the country was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, DawnNews reported.

The petition stated that the amendment made in the Constitution to establish military courts in the country is against its basic structure.

The amendments for the empowerment of military courts to try civilian terror suspects were passed by the Parliament on Tuesday and these were signed by President Mamnoon Hussain into law today.

Take a look: Setting up of military courts: President Mamnoon signs bills into law

The new laws were introduced as part of the government’s 20-point National Action Plan against terrorism approved by a meeting of politicians Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif convened last week.

Examine: Nawaz constitutes special committee to implement National Action Plan

The latest amendment to the constitution, whose objective of giving a constitutional cover to the military courts for trying civilians to undo a bar ordered by the Supreme Court 15 years ago, was the first passed by the present parliament – following three by the previous one, including the landmark 18th Amendment that gave more democracy and provincial autonomy.

  – A copy of the petition
– A copy of the petition

Tuesday’s amendment, brought at the behest of the military in reaction to the Dec 16 terrorist attack on an army public school in Peshawar that killed 149 students and staff, has revived memories of perceived excesses of military courts set up by army rulers and was seen by critics as a step backwards that could undermine parliament, democracy and judiciary.

Editorial: A sad day

Consider that where previous constitutional amendments during civilian dispensations were designed to clear the mess left behind by military dictators, this time it is the civilians who will be muddying the document to empower the army further. The 21st constitutional amendment will stand as a monument to the betrayal of the civilian, democratic cause.