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Stalemate ends as PPP, govt agree on extension of military courts

Updated Mar 16, 2017 07:53pm


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An impasse between the government and the PPP on the future of military courts ended on Thursday after the opposition party agreed to a conditional extension of military courts for two years and voluntarily withdrew five of the nine recommendations it had initially demanded to be included in the draft bill.

Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, who was heading a four-member PPP team, said four of the nine recommendations proposed by the opposition party will be incorporated in the draft bill to revive military courts.

Read more: Zardari announces PPP's 9 recommendations for military court extension

Ahsan said that one of the conditions PPP withdrew was its demand that military courts should be presided over by a sessions judge or a military officer.

"Pakistan is in a state of war. The enemy is attacking from everywhere," the senator said.

The following recommendations PPP had made will reportedly be incorporated in the final draft:

  • Accused to be produced within 24 hours before the concerned court.

  • Accused to be supplied with grounds of arrest within 24 hours.

  • Accused shall have right to engage A counsel of his choice.

  • Provisions of the Qanoon-i-Shahadat 1984 (Law of Evidence) shall apply.

National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, who presided over the session, said a national security committee comprising National Assembly and Senate leaders will be formed to oversee military courts as well as other matters related to curbing terrorism in the country.

Sadiq said that the Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and the Jamaat-i-Islami had reservations regarding the legal language of the bill, specifically with the phrase "terrorism in the name of religion".

Their reservations will be addressed in the final draft, he added.

Sadiq said the amendments to the legislation will be tabled in the National Assembly tomorrow (Friday).

"[The bill] will then be approved, hopefully with consensus, on Monday in the National Assembly, after which it will be brought before the Senate on Tuesday," he added.

Military courts had been disbanded on Jan 7 this year after a sunset clause included in the legal provisions under which the tribunals were established, expired.

The government and the opposition had struggled to reach a consensus on reviving the courts despite frequent discussions.

The primary concern of critics was the mystery surrounding military court trials: no one knows who the convicts are, what charges have been brought against them, or what the accused's defence is against the allegations levelled.

Proponents say the courts act as an "effective deterrent" for those considering violent acts.


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Comments (32) Closed

optimist rajput Mar 16, 2017 07:15pm

Shame on PPP for delaying the matter this far.

Desispider Mar 16, 2017 07:18pm

My 6th sense tells me it was something else that they made govt agree on. These are just for the media and nation to think they asked for something to raise human rights standards. These demands are not what these culprits will make a fuss about, is nation so naive to think PPP and PMLN care about these demand at all?

Abdul Rehman Mar 16, 2017 07:18pm

Wasted everyone's time.

Shah Mar 16, 2017 07:23pm

Some money must have changed hands.

sOldierever Mar 16, 2017 07:24pm

But what would be the Govt's way towards strengthening of Civil judicial and trial system in the mean time? Or Govt plans for just one and the only one thing ahead, Elections of 2k18 ...sad on our so called democratic govt's part ...

Asif A Shah Mar 16, 2017 07:27pm

At least the PPP did not become a mere rubber stamp and tried to get some rights for the accused.

Alien Mar 16, 2017 07:28pm

Topi Drama .. fail party PPP....

optimist Mar 16, 2017 07:39pm

This is all a NORA kushti to fool the public. The main agreement between PPP and PML(JN) is not to interfere ion each other corruption.

Shah Mar 16, 2017 07:56pm

Planned delay by PPP. What a shame.

Princess_of_DHUMP Mar 16, 2017 07:56pm

PPP’s conduct reminded me of out Lollywood movies. Heroine dances around the fields, park enjoying being chased around by hero knowing fully well that she will be falling into his arms pretty soon…

ali Mar 16, 2017 08:13pm

good Joe PPP.

The Observer Mar 16, 2017 08:24pm

Though not very fan of either of the parties, yet the decision made is mature. The trials should be fair.

Alba Mar 16, 2017 08:25pm

Not going to comment on this. Just want to read what Pakistanis are thinking.

mywahala Mar 16, 2017 08:44pm

@Alba they're waiting for an answer, not thinking.

AA Mar 16, 2017 08:53pm

@Alba Agree!! Unless and until the common man will break silent. The only goal is "Keep the common man in fear".

El Cid Mar 16, 2017 08:59pm

The Supreme Court should resign en masse to retain dignity.

Rohail Mar 16, 2017 09:26pm

Noora Kushti. It was a planned and already decided move. This was leaked by their own party men a week ago!

Abdul Rehman Mar 16, 2017 09:30pm

Supreme Court has been ridiculed..

hasrat Mar 16, 2017 09:47pm

It should only be approved if the govt comes with a timeline to fix the judicial system so that all these cases can be handled by established courts. This routine extension is a testimony of the failing system which includes all the parties including PTI. Shame on all of them.

Riz Mar 16, 2017 10:03pm

@Desispider Agree very well said

Who will question them out of reach from LAW?

Pirzado Mar 16, 2017 10:49pm

Well done PPP. PPP is the champion of Basic c Rights.

M.Saeed Mar 16, 2017 11:19pm

Lot of water has passed below the bridge during all those days of inaction!

Kamran Mar 16, 2017 11:58pm

Thanks to ppp,Supreme court is laughing stock.

Asma_jehanzeb Mar 17, 2017 01:27am

Where is my favorite PTI on this issue?

mname Mar 17, 2017 02:20am

PPP and Asif Zaridari the most corrupt political party and leaders in the world. In the name of common people they are deceiving everyone!!!

LAHORI KID Mar 17, 2017 03:47am

Conditional extension ? agreed to a conditional extension of military courts for two years and voluntarily withdrew, there are no voluntary withdrawals in our politics, only deals.

JUSTICE Mar 17, 2017 04:10am

If PM-L-N government, prosecutors were doing their job without the interference of corrupt politicians, we would not be talking about the extension of military courts today. The extension of military courts decision was already made by the higher authority, there was no choice for any political party to disapprove it.

Raza Farooqui-NY Mar 17, 2017 06:16am

Excellent stand by the PPP, although all demands are not met, which is shame, but good stand against the military courts.

Ali Mar 17, 2017 06:40am

Feel sorry for this nation for having these incompetent and corrupt politicians to decide their fate.

Javed Arshad Mar 17, 2017 08:32am

Their minds it seems are preoccupied with Panama decision and its possible aftermath in coming 20 years, the rest is all look busy kind of stuff .....

option Mar 17, 2017 09:06am

@Desispider Very true. Not just they dont care about the demands, they dont even care about the people they govern!

M.Mudassir Siddiqui Mar 17, 2017 12:33pm

PPP is a party with 0 statute beyond interior sindh