Federal Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal on Friday announced that the Prime Minister House has approved the transfer of 29 cases to the military courts, adding that 80 more cases will be transferred after the next cabinet meeting.
Talking to a private TV channel, he said, “In the last cabinet meeting, 29 cases were cleared to be forwarded to military courts.”
Referring to a letter to the Prime Minister House by Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa sent earlier in the day, the minister said the government has already sent a reply to General Bajwa, addressing his concern.
Eighty more cases will be sent to military courts, he remarked, adding that these 80 cases will be first approved in next cabinet meeting. “After this, the interior ministry will not have any more cases pending,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Gen Bajwa, in the letter, had drawn the attention of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi over lack of transfer of terrorism-related cases to the military courts, reported a media outlet.
The letter apprised the PM that the government has not forwarded any cases to military courts since January 2016. “I have no doubt that the government is serious about implementing the National Action Plan. However, no case has been forwarded to military courts for last many months,” the COAS stated.
After receiving the letter of the army chief, the prime minister requested that the interior ministry to brief him on the status of the cases, reported media outlet, adding the premier also directed the ministry to expedite the process of transferring cases.
Subsequently, the interior ministry apprised the Prime Minister Office that it prepared has recommendations for more than 90 cases to be transferred to military courts; in addition, the ministry also said that it will request formal approval to transfer the cases during the next meeting of the federal cabinet.
He said the ministry was bound to submit the cases to the federal cabinet, as the Supreme Court has defined the federal cabinet as the federal government for the said purpose. While beforehand, the PM could unilaterally approve the transfer of such cases.
On March 28, the 28th Amendment Bill 2017, which sought the extension of military courts for another two years, was passed in the Senate after two-third majority votes came in its favour.
After president’s signatures, the bill became an act and the duration of the military courts was extended for another two years, starting from January 7, 2017.
Earlier on March 10, the Senate passed the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2017 but postponed voting on the 28th Amendment Bill 2017 to March 28.
The Army Act 2017 further amends the Pakistan Army Act 1952. In January 2015 the Pakistan Army Act 2015, along with the 21st Constitution amendment, was passed to try hardcore terrorists in military courts.