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Should Military Courts be given an extension?

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News Analysis |

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided to oppose the extension of Military Courts in the country. According to details, the PML-N leader and former Prime Minister Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Sunday that his party does not support the extension of military courts which are due to expire in March. “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 clarified.

It is worth noting here that earlier 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.

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.

Moreover, on the same day, 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 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 hour. 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.

Interestingly, 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. He was talking to media when 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.

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

Analysts argue that the matter of extension of military courts has 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 after 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.

Former President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari did use various tactics to reportedly pressurize the government to get a deal. But PM Khan remained firm on his stated principles and made it clear to everyone that nobody was going to get a deal this time. In the same scenario, PML-N president Mr. Shehbaz Sharif hinted that his party will consider the proposal of the extension of military courts if approached by the opposition. But after meeting with the former president and other PPP leadership, PML-N has decided to oppose the extension of the military courts.

Read more: Pakistan: Will military courts get an extension?

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 the complex war on terror and it is argued that extraordinary scenarios demand extraordinary measures.


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