There are many reasons why allowing for the extension of military courts would not be a good idea. The constitutional amendment which paved the way for the courts had a sunset clause- there was a limited time-line for the precise reason that the circumstances behind the Military Courts were extraordinary, and thus the functioning of the Courts was meant to be restricted to those temporary circumstances.

Despite many compelling arguments against the extension of military courts, the government has its mind set on allowing the extension. The law and interior ministry has already initiated the process of reinstating the military courts even before the expiry of their two year term. The actual task, however, of persuading the parliament to approve another extension will not be so easy.

To allow an extension, the government will need the assent of 3/4th of the parliament. Considering PTI has 149 seats in the parliament, it will require at least 107 more votes to allow for the extension to pass.

In 2017, the first extension of the military courts was approved with difficulty, with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) barely gathering collecting the numbers. The first extension passed at a time when the PML-N had a considerably higher majority than the PTI has right now, yet even then, it had to persuade Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to lend conditional support, and had to appease to the objections of its allied parties, the JUI-F and PkMAP.

Today, with most of the major opposition parties openly at conflict with the government, and daily walkouts in the parliament, it doesn’t seem as if the government will be able to get the parties on board. The PPP has openly declared. PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday said he would vehemently oppose the extension of military courts. Even PML-N, which does not have an ideological opposition to the principle of military courts, has stated that it has not made any decision on the extension and it is entirely possible, considering PML-N’s grievances, that it may end up opposing it solely to spite the government.

This will be the first test of PTI’s political acumen. Passing a constitutional amendment always requires political will and craft- with the antagonistic state of the opposition; it looks to be a difficult path for PTI to get this legislation passed. PTI has three months to get a consensus on the extension- it will be interesting to see if the party softens its confrontational approach towards the opposition to aid the legislation process.