–NA Opp leader says PML-N will ‘think about it’ if approached by PTI leadership
–Shehbaz says terrorism eradicated due to military courts’ establishment
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Monday spoke in favour of the military courts and hinted at giving support for their extension “if approached by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government”.
Talking to reporters at Parliament House, Shehbaz said, “If the current government contacts us over the extension of military courts, we will think about it.”
The PML-N president recalled that the military courts, whose current two-year term is set to expire in March, were formed during the previous PML-N government under Nawaz Sharif’s premiership, adding that “terrorism was eradicated due to the establishment of the military courts, Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad”.
The leader of the opposition in the National Assembly credited the fear created from the military courts as a major factor in the war against terrorism.
Earlier in January, the law ministry informed a standing committee of the National Assembly that the summary for a second extension in military courts has been forwarded to the federal cabinet for approval.
On Sunday, PML-N leader Miftah Ismail said that his party will support the government for the extension of military courts only if the PTI satisfies them in parliament on the issue.
The former adviser on finance told the media, “The military courts issue will be discussed in parliament. And if the government satisfied the PML-N lawmakers on the reasons behind extending term of the special courts, they will support the cause.”
In December, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had made it clear that his party would not support another extension to the military courts. Talking to journalists in Islamabad, Bilawal said, “I will oppose the extension of military courts’ laws at every forum.”
While regretting that such legislation was sanctioned in the first place, the PPP chief assailed the parliament for granting a two-year extension to military courts in 2017, terming it akin to the house “slashing off its nose”.
In March 2017, military courts were revived for the next two years after ex-president Mamnoon Hussain had ratified NA bill on the matter. The former PML-N government had argued that the revival of military courts was imperative keeping in view the “recent spate of terrorism in the country”.
The military courts’ extension had come after more than two months of deliberations and a tug of war between government and opposition parties over the technicalities of their functioning.
Last year, the Pakistan Army’s media wing had released the list of terrorists given death sentences since the establishment of military courts. 310 terrorists have been given death sentences in 717 terrorism cases sent by the federal government, ISPR said, adding that 546 of the 717 cases have been finalised by the military courts with 234 handed imprisonment sentences and 310 given the death penalty.