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Bilawal vows to oppose another extension for military courts

December 20, 2018

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The extension granted to military courts in 2017 is set to expire next year. — File
The extension granted to military courts in 2017 is set to expire next year. — File

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday said he would vehemently oppose the extension of military courts, and regretted that parliament had previously sanctioned such legislation.

"I will oppose the extension of military courts' laws at every forum," Zardari said in a brief chat with media representatives in Islamabad.

The PPP leader also assailed the parliament for granting a two-year extension to military courts in 2017 — a decision he said was akin to the house "slashing off its nose".

In March 2017, military courts were revived for the next two years after then president Mamnoon Hussain had ratified a National Assembly bill on the matter.

The extension, however, had come after more than two months of deliberations and a tug of war between between government and opposition parties over the technicalities of military courts' functioning.

The PML-N government at the time had argued that the revival of military courts was imperative keeping in view the "recent spate of terrorism in the country".

The PPP, however, had opposed the extension, with veteran leader Naveed Qamar lamenting the state of affairs in the country and saying he "does not believe things will improve in the next two years even if the military courts are revived".

The legislation was aimed at granting legal cover to the military courts for trying civilians charged with terrorism.

The two-year extension to military courts is set to expire in March 2019.