Constitution Amend tabled in NA; PPP rejects bills

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Revival of Military Courts

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

Constitution Amendment bill for the revival of military courts for another two years and the Army Act Amendment Bill were presented in the National Assembly on Friday by Minister for Law Zahid Hamid.
The draft bill states that the country is going through extraordinary circumstances where terrorist organizations are a threat to the existence of Pakistan. In such a situation extraordinary measures must be taken, Hamid said on the floor of the assembly. The draft of the bill calls for action against armed groups which are using religion to spread extremism and terrorism. It added that terrorism in the country is being funded by both local and foreign anti-state organizations.
The government reached consensus with all parliamentary parties for extension of the military courts except the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
Speaking to the media on Thursday Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had said that the PPP had backtracked from its point to appoint sessions or additional sessions judge in the military courts in the parliamentary leaders meeting.
Even PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed also claimed in a press talk that the PPP had dropped its nine-point proposals and agreed to a two-year extension in the military courts.
However, the PPP rubbished those claims. “The PPP totally rejects any statement purportedly issued by any official agency creating a false and erroneous impression of the PPP having agreed to the draft proposals of the government,” said the PPP spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar in a statement following media reports that the PPP had agreed to a two-year extension in the military courts while withdrawing its nine-point proposals.
The PPP on Friday rejected two separate bills pertaining to the reinstatement of military courts presented to parliament by the federal government.
Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq had forwarded the draft bills to a committee of parliamentary leaders for deliberation.
“Parliamentary leaders will finalise the drafts after deliberations and reaching a conclusion,” the speaker said.
If the bill is approved, it will be implemented retrospectively from January 7, 2017.
“Reservations of all parties will be addressed and consensus will be reached,” he added.

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