LAHORE - Political unwillingness which the parties had shown at the time of passing Pakistan Protection Ordinance, 2014, still has so significant impact that the courts which came into being under the said law are not working, an official of the Ministry of Law told The Nation here on Tuesday.

The Protection of Pakistan Ordinance which now has been passed was promulgated to defeat the menace of terrorism and establish protection and peace in the country. But the seriousness of the government authorities can easily be assessed from the working of a PPO court in Lahore which has not heard even a single case since its establishment.

The judge and staff of the court, attached with the temporarily established court (which is for the period of two years), come daily, enjoy gossip and then go back to their homes without tasting the pain of work. Terrorism, being the biggest issue of the state, seems to have come to an end when peace and quietness is seen at the floor of small-room PPO court at the building of Banking Courts, The Mall.

The same situation prevails in the other PPO courts which are not working because of the lackluster and fugitive approach of the authorities of the Law Ministry, the official said, seeking anonymity.

Pakistan Protection Act, 2014, was aimed at providing protection against the militants waging war or insurrection against Pakistan, prevention of acts threatening the security of the country and for speedy trial of offences falling under the scheduled offences. The law-enforcement agencies, under the said law, can detain a suspect for 90 days if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person is acting against the integrity of the country and posing a threat to its security.

Most of the lawyers have also rejected the law, terming it against the spirit of the 1973 Constitution. And the working of the courts has proven their reservations true.

An official of Grade-17 at the special courts said the Law Ministry has neither issued funds nor has it provided infrastructure for the PPO courts. However, he said, it has issued a notification bearing No F.7(7) R3/2014-304-2015 and conveyed a message to the officials of special courts that their allowances, including the judicial allowance, were conditioned upon the final decision of the petitions they had filed in the Lahore High Court.

If they lose the cases in the Lahore High Court, the allowances would be taken back from them, conveyed the ministry, he said.

“The situation is getting from bad to worse as the authorities do not own the employees of the special courts,” he said, adding the Ministry of Law considers them as employees of the courts, but the courts’ administration considers them as workers of the ministry

When contacted, Federal Law and Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said the courts were not working as judges for them were not available. When asked about the move for the appointment of judges for PPO courts, he replied it was not their responsibility. “The courts will start working as soon as the judges are available,” said the law minister.

Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Azam Nazir Tarar said had the PPO courts and ATCs been in proper working condition, the situation would have been different and there would have been no need of even the military courts. But the military courts were set up and these courts were given no importance, he added. He expressed serious concerns over the poor condition of PPO courts.