Govt fails to win political consensus on military courts again | Pakistan Today

Govt fails to win political consensus on military courts again

The federal government failed to evolve a consensus between the political parties on the establishment of military courts for dealing with terrorists as another meeting of parliamentary leaders ended in a stalemate on Friday, putting off further deliberations till Tuesday.

During the meeting, the federal government agreed to cut the timeline of the military courts from three years to two, asking all the political parties to agree on the national cause.

Earlier, the subcommittee formed to evolve a consensus among top political parties of the country had also failed to do the needful.

Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid—who chaired the meeting—said that if all parties agree, the military courts’ tenure could be cut to two years. However, the opposition looked adamant to come to terms, he added.

PPP senior leader Syed Naveed Qamar sought some more time for getting the approval from his party chairman.“Let me seek party leadership’s approval over the new proposal,” Qamar said.

He added that the PPP was planning to convene an all-parties conference (APC) to discuss military courts issue and the constitutional amendments proposed by the government in this regard.

In the revision process, he added, the government also added clauses to put anti-state activities within the purview of the military courts.

Zahid Hamid responded in affirmative, saying that the anti-state activities and violent acts against the state have been included in the government’s proposal.

“The proposed amendments, along with a bill regarding necessary amendments to the Pakistan Army Act, will be sent to parliamentary leaders,” the law minister said, adding that the parliamentary leaders will present their views on these issues in the Feb 28 session of parliament after consulting with their party leaders.

Later, a PPP statement said that the party leadership had decided to convene an APC on March 4 to deliberate on the issue of proposed extensions in the tenure of military courts.

The conference will be held in Islamabad in which the leadership of all political parties will be invited, the statement added. The official invites to political leaders will be issued from Saturday, it added.

Military courts were established and granted permission to try civilians charged with terrorism in Jan 2015 after a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in Dec 2014. The courts have been non-functional since Jan 7 after the expiry of the two-year constitutional cover given to them.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]



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