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Bill for extension of military courts presented in National Assembly

Published Mar 20, 2017 11:45pm

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The constitution amendment bill for the extension of military courts was presented in the National Assembly on Monday with lawmakers debating on the subject and criticising the government.

The bill was presented by Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid and the final vote on the amendment is expected to take place on Tuesday.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Awami Muslim League (AML) leader Shaikh Rasheed criticised the federal government over, what they said, was its failure to curb terrorism in the country without seeking the military's assistance.

"Has the country reaped any benefits from the establishment of the military courts in the last two years?" Achakzai asked.

"You cannot govern a country in this manner," he added.

Rasheed said if justice is not served then people will be forced to take matters in their own hands.

Pakistan Peoples Party's Naveed Qamar, also the former defence minister of Pakistan, lamented the state of affairs in the country, saying he does not believe things will improve in the next two years even if the military courts are revived.

"The need to re-establish military courts in the country is evidence of how the federal government has failed," said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's Shah Mehmood Qureshi during the NA session.

"Was the government not aware that the mandate over military courts will expire after two years?" the PTI leader asked.

However, he said that there is consensus that military courts will not be made a permanent part of the Constitution.

Military courts were disbanded on Jan 7 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 (3) Closed



M.Saeed Mar 20, 2017 11:57pm

Those who oppose the extension of military courts, themselves have some agenda that they are afraid of exposure and due action.

Syed F. Hussaini Mar 21, 2017 12:19am

Each member voting for these bills would expose himself to prosecution on two counts:

  1. Violation of the Constitution by mutilating it to deprive people of their guaranteed inalienable rights to life and a fair trial.

  2. Violation of personal oath to uphold the Constitution under all circumstances.

Plus, such members would be personally liable for compensation and damages to the families of those condemned to death when sued in a court of law for causing wrongful death by willfully distorting the Constitution.

ft Mar 21, 2017 01:07am

Military courts or civilian courts, Nothing will change without exterminating all corrupt politicians and ministers who fund and shelter extremists.