ISLAMABAD: The government has extended the purview of the recently amended Pakistan Army Act to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) for the setting up of military courts there.
President Mamnoon Hussain approved on Wednesday a summary permitting the government to establish military courts in the tribal areas.
An official statement issued by the Presidency said: “On a summary initiated by States and Frontier Regions Division, the president has approved the prime minister’s advice for extension of Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act No-II of 2015) to Federally Administered Tribal Areas in terms of Article 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan.”
The decision to set up military courts to try terrorists was taken in the first week of January and nine military courts have been established — three each in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, two in Sindh and one in Balochistan, for a period of two years.
The army, which is carrying out military operations in Fata, has taken hundreds of suspects into custody and those involved in terrorism will be tried by the military courts.
The Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Barrister Zafarullah told Dawn that the government wanted military courts in Fata because a large number of cases needed to be sent to them.
He said that hundreds of suspects had been taken into custody during the Zarb-i-Azb operation. However, he said, “Not everybody arrested during the operation will be tried in military courts. Only a limited number of cases will be sent there”.
When asked how many military courts will be set up in Fata, he said that it would depend on the number of cases. “The KP governor, military authorities, the provincial chief secretary and the inspector general are working on this and the number of military courts in Fata will be decided on the basis of their observations and recommendations.”
Published in Dawn February 12th , 2015