ISLAMABAD - Ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and major opposition parties except the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) have welcomed the Supreme Court decision to uphold the establishment of military courts hoping it will help in eliminating the menace of terrorism in the country.

PML-N and MQM believed that the legalisation of the military courts would help the government punish terrorists quickly as compared to the normal judicial course.

The PTI, however, termed it a ‘black day’ in the history of Pakistan.

“The decision will help the government to improve handling of terrorists. It is our answer to the terrorists”, PML-N lawmaker Rana Mohammed Afzal Khan said while talking to The Nation.

He said that the military courts system was already active in the country since its independence in 1947.

“The decision to try terrorists in these courts is an extraordinary decision in extraordinary circumstances. After two years, the system will be back to normal. These courts only have the additional mandate (to try terrorists) for two years,” he added.

Khan said a high court will be able to review the decision of the military courts which is an enough facility for someone who is accused of killing people.

PPP legislator Shabbir Ali Bijarani said his party had supported the amendment to introduce the military courts so it welcomes the Supreme Court decision.

“This is time bound and after 2 years, the system will be back to civilian courts. We are in a state of war so we needed to take such decisions”, he remarked.

Bijarani said the trial of terrorists in the military courts will help the authorities in eliminating terrorism.

“You will see the establishment of military courts will help in improving the law and order across the country”, he asserted.

Bijarani mentioned, “Since the amendment was passed by the parliament, the Supreme Court has acknowledged the supremacy of parliament”.

MQM lawmaker Ali Raza Abidi also appreciated the court decision saying his party supports quick trial of hardened terrorists.

“We have no reservations as we had supported this amendment. The only apprehension is that it might be used against the MQM. We hope it does not happen”, he stated.

Abidi said the MQM is against terrorism and wants elimination of the menace as soon as possible. “The military courts should help in achieving this goal”, he opined.

PTI’s Senior Vice President Hamid Khan criticised the court verdict claiming the judiciary had bowed to the will of the establishment.

“This is a black day in our national history. We launched a campaign for the freedom of the judiciary and the Supreme Court had today given it back to the establishment”, Khan argued.

The PTI leader, who is also a senior lawyer, said the movement for free judiciary was not aimed at securing former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chauhdry’s lost job. “We wanted a free judiciary and sadly the Supreme Court has given a decision which has disappointed us”, he said.