Home News Analysis Did Government approach Twitter to suspend military courts critics’ accounts?

Did Government approach Twitter to suspend military courts critics’ accounts?

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News Analysis |

Federal Minister for Information Mr. Fawad Chaudhary has made it clear that his government has not reported anyone’s Twitter accounts to the micro-blogging site. It is pertinent to mention here that on Monday, lawyer Reema Omer said that Twitter had received “official correspondence” that her tweets were in violation of the Pakistani law. “Interesting times where ‘officials’ see references to the law — i.e., the Constitution + judgments of high courts — as a violation of the law,” she had said.

Responding to Ms. Reema, Federal Minister tweeted and said that the government did not have any correspondence with Twitter. “This is absolutely an academic debate; why would govt question that debate?” he asked.

But after some time the lawyer tweeted and asked some more questions. “Thank you, Sir. Appreciate your clarification,” she replied.

The opposition has jointly deiced not to extend the military courts. Analysts argue that the matter of extension of military courts have become highly political in the country.

However, she said “it leads to more questions: Is Twitter making up these emails? Is some impostor pretending to be a government official making these complaints? Or are these complaints being made ‘officially’, but without the government’s knowledge?”

Military courts were created after the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar tragedy where innocent children were mercilessly killed by the terrorists. Parliament passed an amendment and Supreme Court approved it to let the military courts function where trials were run on a priority basis.

Furthermore, 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”.

Read more: Military courts: Opposition’s bargain chip?

Furthermore, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have decided to oppose the extension of Military Courts in the country. The opposition has jointly deiced not to extend the military courts. Analysts argue that the matter of extension of military courts have become highly political in the country.

PPP and PML-N reportedly wish to seek an NRO to evade ongoing accountability cases. The establishment was approached by the leaders of the mentioned parties but over an outright refusal by the establishment and PM Imran Khan, the opposition has decided to form a joint platform in order to give a tough time to the government and the establishment.

Observers maintain that the military courts should be given an extension since Pakistan’s criminal justice system is not efficient and terrorism resulted cases need to be resolved on priority basis.

Interestingly, contrary to what the opposition was believing or some analysts were arguing, the 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 to make a decision on the matter of extension of 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. Furthermore, “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.

Read more: Fate of Military Courts: PPP takes a firm stand?

Observers maintain that the military courts should be given an extension since Pakistan’s criminal justice system is not efficient and terrorism resulted cases need to be resolved on priority basis. Pakistan is dealing with a complex war on terror and it is argued that extraordinary scenarios demand extraordinary measures.


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