Revival of military courts
Zahid Chaudhary/Muhammad Arshad
Following the recent wave of terror that claimed the lives of over one hundred people in eight attacks, there is renewed effort on the part of the government to revive the military courts that completed their term last month.
Speaking in the Senate on Monday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the parliamentary leaders under the chair of the speaker national assembly will meet on 23rd February- the meeting which was earlier scheduled for 27th of February. This meeting, he said, will be preceded by the meeting of the sub-committee on 22nd February which will dilate upon the technical matters of the proposed constitutional draft.
The parliamentary leaders have held five meetings on the matter. In the last meeting, the PTI and the PPP had opposed the extension of military courts for three years.
Military courts were established early 2015 after the government brought an amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan for speedy trails of terrorists. The action was taken as the nation mourned attack on Army Public School in Peshawar on December 26, 2014 that claimed lives of over 130 innocent students.
Ishaq Dar further said the 14 names provided by the Upper House will be invited by the Speaker National Assembly to attend the meeting. Those with legal background can also attend the meeting of the sub-committee to give their valuable inputs”, he added.
He said that the Upper House is as a respectable as the National Assembly and it cannot be overlooked. He said that any constitutional draft regarding the military courts will require consent of both the Houses.
The Finance Minister said, time demands that all the parties stand together to meet the challenges. He said there is categorical evidence that the terrorist attacks in Lahore and Hayatabad were controlled from the foreign soil. He said that the agencies of the foreign countries were involved in those heinous crimes. He said that while Pakistan is committed will to not allow its land used against any other country, time has come that we also ensure that the soil of other country is not used against Pakistan. He said following the attack at Sehwan Sharif, the Prime Minister authorized the armed forces to take action against the terrorists wherever they are.
The Minister for Law Zahid Hamid said that any constitutional amendment regarding extension in Military Courts would be finalized after taking into confidence the Upper House of the Parliament. Responding to the concerns of the members including the Chairman that the Senate has been kept in the dark on the matter, the Minister clarified that the government is aware of its obligations and cannot ignore the Upper House in any manner. He elaborated that only preliminary meetings have so far been held on the matter and the parliamentary leaders of this House will also be taken on board.
Earlier, the Senators said that the Upper House has always played an important role on important matters including the national security. They said it is the responsibility of the government to keep the House aware of the developments pertaining to peace and security of the country.
Meanwhile Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Monday, continued telephonic contacts with parliamentary leaders for the second day.
The Finance Minister called Farooq Sattar of MQM, Shabzada Tariquullah of Jammat e Islami, Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of ANP, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of AML, Shahji Gul Afridi of FATA & other parliamentary leaders.
He highlighted significance of extending the working of military courts for speedy trial of terrorists and emphasized consensus among all the party leaders on this important issue.
Governors Sindh and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Monday, held detailed discussions with the Finance Minister on the issue of terror attack in Sehwan Sharif as well as FATA reforms along with measures / activities for development of FATA and rehabilitation of temporarily displaced people (TDPs) in the area
Governor Sindd Mohammad Zubair called on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar who said that the Federal and Provincial governments should work in a well-coordinated fashion to uproot the scourge of militancy and that life and property of the people at large must be protected at all costs.
Governor Zubair on the occasion appreciated Finance Minister’s efforts for generating consensus on the issue of military courts. He agreed that concerted efforts needed to be made to curb acts of terror.
Governor of KP, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra also separately called on Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar. The two discussed in detail, the FATA reforms as well as measures / activities for development of FATA and rehabilitation of TDPs in the area. Minister Dar said that Federal Government wished to undertake all possible steps for the well being of the people of FATA. He assured Governor KP of government’s full support in the matter.