The government has decided to extend the military courts term for two years and draft laws have already been prepared in this regard, a local media house reported.
It was further reported that the law and interior ministers had “initiated the process of reinstating the military courts even before the expiry of their two-year term which, according to some of the treasury and opposition members, took place on Jan 6; others claim that the courts will cease functioning on March 30”.
It was stated that the members of the opposition parties were to be engaged on the issue during the next National Assembly session as it required a two-thirds majority in both parliament houses to get the bill passed.
Moreover, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry quoted in the reported confirmed that the two main opposition parties will be taken into confidence “as without their support the period of the military courts could not be extended”.
He further said that the military courts were set up through a “political consensus under the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism in 2015” and “even the Supreme Court had upheld the establishment of these courts”.
The opposing party Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) who had earlier taken a tough stance on the issue offered support to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government over the issue. However, PPP again opposed the idea of giving the military court an extension.
After the terrorist attack on Army Public School, the military courts were established in 2015 and granted permission to try civilians charged with terrorism. Following this, the courts remained non-functional from January to March 2017 after the expiry of the two-year constitutional cover.