Islamabad - The fifth meeting of parliamentary leaders on Thursday failed to reach a consensus on a three-year extension sought by the government regarding military courts.
Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid presented a proposal to extend the tenure of military courts by another three years.
The bill states that the country was going through extraordinary circumstances and there were threats of attacks from different terrorist organisations. The bill, if approved, will be applicable from January 2017 after a constitutional amendment.
“In the prevailing situation a speedy justice system is required and there is a need to amend the constitution and in order to extend army courts, the constitution will be amended,” the draft of the bill says.
A new definition of terrorist has been included in the draft, which suggests that anyone could be termed a terrorist whether or not his motivations were based on religion.
Representatives sought time to consult their respective party heads on the government bill.
National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq chaired the meeting while National Security Adviser Nasir Janjua briefed the participants.
After the meeting, the NA Speaker told media that a sub-committee comprising Shireen Mazari, Shazia Marri, Iqbal Qadri, Zahid Hamid and Naeema Kishore has been formed, to identify possible legal issues in the draft. The first meeting of the subcommittee has been scheduled for February 22.
The meeting participants while talking to media expressed their reservations over the proposed duration and asked what steps have been taken to strengthen justice system and what was the guarantee that the military courts would not be extended again.
Military courts were established in early 2015 for speedy trials of terrorists soon after the attack on Army Public School in Peshawar on December 2014.
The courts seized to exist after the expiry of its terms in December 2016.
Pakistan People’s Party leader Naveed Qamar expressed reservation over the definition of a terrorist. He said his party has not yet made up its mind for an extension to military courts. He said that a roadmap has been given in the document but it has not been elaborated. He said that he rejected the draft in its present form. PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that it seemed the government wanted to pass the bill immediately but haste will serve no purpose.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 17-Feb-2017 here.