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ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani on Friday termed the accord reached between political parties on the revival of military courts unfortunate, fearing that the term of extension might go beyond 2019.

While chairing Friday’s session, he pointed out that two bills pertaining to military courts had been passed in 2015, yet two years later, the country found itself back to square one.

Read: Accord on military courts’ revival for two years

He said the Senate’s Committee of the Whole had taken steps before the cut-off date for military courts mentioned in the sunset clause of the Army Act 2015 and the Constitutional Amendment Act 2015, and had unanimously passed two bills on Jan 18, 2016.

He regretted, however, that no headway had been made. He observed that the present situation could have been avoided, had the bills been used as working papers. He said the two houses of parliament would do what they wanted on the issue of military courts, but hoped that the situation would not be the same two years from now. “I am pained at what is happening,” he remarked.


Dar tells Senate decision taken in view of peculiar law and order situation in country


Mr Rabbani has been a strong opponent of military courts and was moved to tears on Jan 7, 2015 after voting on the 21st Constitutional Amendment to set up military courts in the country. He said he had voted against his own conscience, adding that he had never felt more ashamed in his life. “I have been in the Senate for more than 12 years, but have never been as ashamed as I am today and I cast my vote against my conscience,” the Pakistan Peoples Party leader had said.

Responding to an observation of the Senate chairperson, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said military courts were never a priority of any political party, but said that the decision had been taken in view of the peculiar law and order situation in the country.

He expressed the hope that Mr Rabbani would not be absent the day the House legislated on the revival of military courts.

He said the country was facing enormous challenges and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad had been launched after Operation Zarb-e-Azb. He claimed there was no other choice.

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan said the PPP had agreed to swallow a bitter pill on the government’s assurance that the term for military courts would be two years and that a national security committee would also be formed.

Separately, the PPP demanded that the proposed Riwaj Act and the regulation to set up local bodies in tribal areas, in the recently announced Reforms Package, be placed before parliament for discussion before the president signed any regulation in this regard.

Speaking on an issue of public importance, Senator Farhatullah Babar said keeping the Riwaj Act and LB law hidden from the public and parliament raised serious questions about the law replacing the notorious FCR in tribal areas. “It will be a disastrous step backwards if it turns out that the Riwaj Act was even more regressive and anti-human rights than the notorious FCR” he said.

He said the president must not sign these regulations merely on advice of the bureaucracy alone without it being discussed in the Parliament. The Parliament should also be taken on board on how local governments will be set up in tribal areas, the powers and responsibilities of those bodies, the mode of election, and whether elections will be held in all agencies simultaneously or in a staggered manner and how.

He demanded to know how the government proposed to extend the jurisdiction of superior courts to FATA as promised in the Reforms Package and the timeline for it.

“The government’s silence on these issues is deafening and raises doubts that the reforms package is more of publicity stunt rather than serious effort to mainstream the tribal areas.”

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2017


Comments (46) Closed



Hafeez, Canada Mar 18, 2017 07:29am

Whose responsibility was to set the judicial system right??? Parliament and Senate. They miserably failed to set the institutions right, so no choice rather than military courts.

Osman Mar 18, 2017 07:39am

Does he regret corruption and lawlessness as well?

ADNAN MAZHER khan Mar 18, 2017 07:44am

Policy No. 1: Save your own skin. PPPP is exactly doing that.

ABP Mar 18, 2017 07:50am

At last, Mr Rabbani is saying what he should have done before. Never too late. Glad to see we have some sane people in politics. Good call

Ayub Mar 18, 2017 08:11am

He should resign in protest.

M Jamal Mar 18, 2017 08:22am

Soft corner of corruption and bad governance.

Rashid Mar 18, 2017 08:41am

Military courts are the only solution for the country. When corruption and favoritism are rampant and Justice is tampered or delayed, the only course left to bring law and order is in the hands of the soldiers, who so often have to lay their lives for the country, due to the problems created by the self-serving corrupt and inefficient Politicians.

Dove Mar 18, 2017 08:50am

Mr. Chairman this is more function of a dysfunction which civilian authorities failed to accomplish under judicial system

Muneer Mar 18, 2017 08:57am

Stop shedding crocodile tears.Resign if you are so committed to the Principle.

PARVEZ PC CHOWDHURY Mar 18, 2017 08:59am

It is the norm to resolve every issue of life by force in this society! Military court is supported by the society!

MS Mar 18, 2017 09:22am

And people of Pakistan regret him being chairman of senate.

Zafar Ahmed Mar 18, 2017 09:55am

We are all objecting/ talking about military courts. But what Rabbani has done for improvement of Civil courts. He is sitting in Senate and he is true politician and i will request him for his front line contribution for improvement of civil courts. The supreme courts, high courts/ District courts are mostly corrupt in the means that they are not contributing well for the justice. At Tehsil and district level Lawyers/ judges are too corrupt to fail this system and high courts have the similar situation. We are observing / feeling/ and witnessing general public troubles/ grievances but no political leader is there to deal with the situation.

SAB Mar 18, 2017 09:56am

Raza Rabbani is part of the system...he should either own it up or leave the chairmanship of Senate

Ahmad zubair Mar 18, 2017 09:59am

Can Mr. Rabbani suggest any better option to keep the country safe for common man.

Imran Ahmed Mar 18, 2017 10:08am

Too little, too late but I am still glad to see that you have not completely forgotten how to speak the truth. Sadly, the other politicians do not have even this much integrity.

PRO Mar 18, 2017 10:14am

Pakistan can not be the West Mr. Rabbani. Either accept it or quit.

Abdul Rehman Mar 18, 2017 10:14am

Absolute shame on so called Democracy and an insult to the Supreme Court.

m rafique Mar 18, 2017 11:27am

Crocodile tears, once again, why not you resign from senate and party as well. Be brave an be honest

Sheeda Tully trump Mar 18, 2017 11:33am

hypercrate...hunt with the hounds and run with the hare

Ahmed bin Babar Mar 18, 2017 11:35am

Instead of regrets they should overhaul the country's judicial system, through legislation, by making it more efficient, effective, honest and just...

Anwar Mar 18, 2017 12:08pm

Why Mr. Raza Rabbani did not weep when PPP was in government, on overall dismal and gloomy situation. When there was no work except for making money. And why doesn't he now cry over the worst worst corruption in Sindh, where many hundred billions of rupees budget consumed without any change in the deplorable situation.

There are only one organization in the country who is deliverer, competent, disciplined and dutiful whereas all other civilian's are corrupt, politicized, incompetent and crippled.

Mr. Rabbani should first resign from senate and his party then raise a hue and cry. This is his right, otherwise his tears will be mere a crocodile tears and nothing. There are few more such personalities in PPP who should think on this note.

Khan Mar 18, 2017 12:05pm

Military Court is 20-crore public demand - one person like or dis-like off no importance.

Maz zubairi Mar 18, 2017 12:52pm

The PPP senate members are worthless bunch who dont add any value and opposes anything which makes state strong. they are opportunist back door crooks and if they will fight elections they will all loose their guarantees.THE WAY SENEATE IS ELECTED IS A TOTALLY AGAINST THE BASIC DEMOCRACY. Hopefully all these worthless people just go away.

Shahid Hussain Mar 18, 2017 01:06pm

Though I am in favour of military courts as a short term solution yet I respect the views of the honourable senator;his patriotism and integrity is above board. What he is saying reflects the views of a significant minority and we must accept it as their right to vent their feelings and views.That is the best thing which is happening in Pakistan right now.Dissent and acceptance of dissent!

Syed Ahmed,canada Mar 18, 2017 01:17pm

Mr. Rabbani, Just shed the extra security measures you have taken. You will soon realize that the court have become necessary under the prevailing situation.

Saqib Ghummman Mar 18, 2017 01:25pm

Please resign in protest ....

ali Mar 18, 2017 01:25pm

Mr rabbani you are hope of democracy.

Asad Mar 18, 2017 02:58pm

Has he ever regretted Zardari's corruption.... Karachi's plight...... And the inability of the existing judiciary to safeguard the life and property of the citizens of Pakistan.

ashar Mar 18, 2017 03:06pm

He is saving his face, though he is equally involved.

Striker Mar 18, 2017 03:08pm

Regret that ppl like him are running affairs of country from important forums like senate.

adnan Mar 18, 2017 03:18pm

you are chairman senate sir.. why did u let the bill table?

FJ Mar 18, 2017 04:52pm

One will regret and continue to regret unless effective measures are taken to rectify the situation. No individual likes to be overstretched, thus an institution by extension would be naturally inclined to work within its defined scope of responsibilities. Having said that, someone needs to stand up and keep the State going. If you dont, someone else will. Tough luck my friend. You should make it count when it matters.

Prateik Mar 18, 2017 05:27pm

Inspite of having military courts for so many years, terrorism is still a big problem.

lotec Mar 18, 2017 05:36pm

@Rashid Agreed 100 percent. Can Mr Rabbni tell us, has he or zardari or nawas stopped the suicide bombers and other terrorists and other infiltrators coming into Pakistan. The answer is no. Then the solution has to be radical until we get rid of these people. We are now hearing about this isis coming into Afghanistan. Who do you think they are coming for. Not Afghanistan, they are coming to destroy us. Can Mr Rabbni saves Pakistan from them. Well he will have to get out of his air conditioned chamber , go to the border and do the real work for Pakistan.

Masood Hussain Mar 18, 2017 05:48pm

I share the pain of Rabban,the C.P of our Senate but the force of cicumstances can not be avoided

qamar Mar 18, 2017 06:34pm

Mr. Chairman of the Senate, if you are so much concerned about the rule of law, then what have you done against corruption?????

M. Siddique Mar 18, 2017 06:48pm

Mr. Chairman, then don't let this law pass in Senate.

Masood Mar 18, 2017 07:34pm

partner in crimes!!!

Make Pakistan great Mar 18, 2017 08:02pm

The currently agreed term of two years extension for military courts will very likely be further extended in 2019 if the legislators again fail to come up with the much awaited and much needed judicial reforms within this two year period to revamp the civil criminal justice system.

Make Pakistan great Mar 18, 2017 08:09pm

@qamar

And also what did you do to revamp the civil criminal justice system?

AMIR Mar 18, 2017 08:23pm

Mr Rabbani please suggest a viable, enforceable and workable solution as an alternate to military courts?

El Cid Mar 18, 2017 09:46pm

The Supreme Court must step in now and veto this abomination, protect the country and the constitution as is its duty.

zahiduddin Mar 19, 2017 05:25am

I regret him having links with PPP. He has no say in front of his own leadership. All he can do his Regret.

atif Mar 19, 2017 12:16pm

@Osman no. and he is also satisfied enough to retain his seat and allied perks. bigot

atif Mar 19, 2017 12:13pm

@Muneer he; or for that matter any elite of pakistan, has no principle except self preservation

Make Pakistan great Mar 19, 2017 01:01pm

@atif

All crying and shedding of crocodile tears are for public consumption only. Otherwise, all the politicians, whether in or out of the government, are at peace with what goes on in Pakistan in the name of democracy.