ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Sunday that his party does not support the extension of military courts which are due to expire in March.
Speaking to the media, the former premier said that he opposed extension in military courts, adding that there is no need of such courts anymore.
“PML-N does not support its extension and the opposition alliance has been formed for the betterment of Pakistan and not against the ongoing accountability drive,” he added.
Abbasi lamented the Sahiwal police ‘encounter’ in which four people were killed. He also called for the ‘culprits’ to be handed an exemplary punishment.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujat Hussain on Sunday said that military courts are the need of the nation, adding that this important matter should not be ignored through statement mongering.
Talking to the media, he said that after the APS tragedy, all heads of parties, including Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, Imran Khan and Fazlur Rehman had signed the National Action Plan and nobody should back out now.
On Friday, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor, while speaking to a private TV channel, said that it was up to the parliament make a decision on the matter of extension for military courts. He said that the military courts are not working on the army’s wish, but are a need of the country. He also said that there was a wave of terrorism in the country but the criminal justice system is not quite effective in dealing with such cases and military courts were established after the parliament unanimously approved them.
“It was decided through a national consensus that military courts should be established and the death penalty should be revived,” he said.
“Within four years, military courts had 717 cases, out of which 646 were logically concluded. 345 terrorists were given death sentences,” said the army’s spokesperson.
Earlier on Friday, Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani announced on Friday that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had decided to oppose any further extension in the tenure of the military courts.
“The PPP will oppose it at all costs,” he said while addressing a press conference along with former Senator Farhatullah Babar after a meeting of the party’s central office-bearers and senior leaders at Bilawal House.
The meeting was jointly chaired by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari while Faryal Talpur, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, Khursheed Shah, Sherry Rehman, Murad Ali Shah and others were also present.
“NO to the military courts,” declared senior PPP leader Farhatullah Babar, adding that even if terrorism incidents had not declined then the military courts cannot do in 40 years what they have not been able to do in four years. He said that the party was opposing the military tribunals “lest it happens that Pakistan’s judiciary is militarised and the military becomes judicialised”, adding that such a situation would be very dangerous for the country.
Earlier this month, the law ministry had said that the summary for a second extension to military courts was forwarded to the cabinet for approval. Opposition parties, on the other hand, have opposed the move, arguing that the law and order in the country is satisfactory and there is no need to further extend the courts’ tenure.
In December, PPP chief Bilawal had unequivocally said that his party would not support another extension to the military courts, whose current two-year term is set to expire in March. However, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif had spoken in military courts’ favour and hinted that his party could consider supporting an extension if approached by the PTI government.