ISLAMABAD - Acknowledging the effectiveness of military courts , the civil and military leadership of the country put their weight behind the move to grant extension to the military courts for some more time.

The government has already initiated consultation for constitutional amendment to continue the military courts for a period, to be agreed by the political parties having representation in the Parliament, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif informed a meeting he chaired on Monday.

The meeting of the civil and military leadership reviewed internal and regional security situation. They agreed that the military courts had made significant contribution to curbing terrorism and favoured continuation of their operation.

National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has called a meeting of the heads of all the parliamentary parties today (Tuesday) to evolve consensus on granting extension to these courts.

The military courts were established in the country through a sunset legislation in the Parliament for the period of two years in January 2015 to speedily deal with the cases of terrorists across the country.

As many as 11 military courts have been set up across Pakistan, including three in KP, three in Punjab, two in Sindh and one in Balochistan.

Since February 2015, a total of 274 individuals have been convicted in these courts. As many as 161 individuals have been sentenced to death (several have them already executed) and 169 given jail terms (mostly life sentences).

The opposition parties in the Parliament, before attending the huddle called by the speaker, have decided to have their separate meeting to devise their own unanimous strategy on the issue.

A PTI spokesman said they would be attending the meeting called by the speaker but before going there they would meet with the other opposition parties’ heads in the chamber of Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly to devise some joint strategy.

Opposition parties, including PTI, MQM, Jamaat Islami and PML-Q leaders have confirmed their participation in the meeting at Leader of Opposition’s chamber.

According to a press release issued by the prime minister’s media, the meeting of the civil and military leadership reviewed security situation in detail with a view to strengthen the gains made against terrorism.

The participants reiterated Pakistan’s clear policy of zero-tolerance against terrorism and extremism to accomplish internal peace as well as supplement its foreign policy initiatives. The meeting resolved for continued efforts at all levels to achieve national policy objectives.

The participants agreed that Pakistan would continue its efforts for attaining internal peace and play its due role for a peaceful region.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Lt-Gen Naveed Mukhtar, ISI DG, Adviser to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi, National Security Advisor Lt-Gen (r) Nasser Khan Janjua, Secretary to PM and other senior officials.

The meeting emphasised that the military courts have played an extremely important role at a very crucial juncture of one action against extremism and terrorism and translated the actions under operation Zarb-e-Azb to meaningful and tangible national gains.

Zarb-e-Azb was launched after terrorists attacked Army Public School Peshawar in December 2014, killing around 144 children.

The decision of bringing 21st Constitutional Amendment, which had paved way for the constitution of military courts for two years, was also taken in an All Parties Conference held in the aftermath of the APS attack.

Later at the time of legislation, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Jamaat Islami abstained from the voting on 21st Constitutional Amendment – citing reservations on the definition of terrorism and its alleged linkage to religion and seminaries.