Federal govt ‘tight-lipped’ on future of military courts

Federal govt ‘tight-lipped’  on future of military courts

ISLAMABAD: The federal government is silent on the future of military courts established under 21 constitutional amendments. Military courts will cease to exist if the government does not amend the Constitution again. Official sources told Daily Times that it looked like the federal government was not in the mood to extend the time period of military courts. The federal law ministry or defense ministry has not moved any summary to the federal cabinet or the prime minister for extension of military courts.

Around 12 military courts were established all over the country under 21 constitutional amendments in January 2015. These courts were established for a time period of two years, which will lapse on 7 January 2017.

Sources said that two main allies parties of the government Pakhtoon khaw mili awami party and JUI F were not in the favour of extension of military courts, while this time it seemed that the main opposition party Pakistan Peoples Party will also not support the new constitutional amendment that is necessary to extend the military courts.

On this, the federal government was reluctant to extend these courts because the government did not have a two thirds majority to pass the new constitutional amendment from both houses to extend the military courts. According to the constitution, a two thirds majority is necessary in the Senate and National Assembly to change the constitution.

Official sources were of the view that if military courts ended on 7th January, all cases related to terrorism would be transferred to anti terrorism courts. Till 30 November, the military courts sentenced 105 people to death while four were awarded life imprisonment. Out of those 105, 25 have been hanged.

These courts were established after the terrorist attack at the Army Public School in Peshwar. For this, the government amended the Military Act and constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as well. All political parties supported the amendment in the first APC under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and then in both houses of parliament.