ISLAMABAD   -     The PTI’s government has seemingly shelved its plan, for the time being, to give extension to military courts by taking proper nod from parliament.

The incumbent government has put on hold to table bill regarding extension in tenure of the military courts in the upcoming session of parliament, sensing non-cooperation from main opposition parties, background discussion with treasury and opposition lawmakers revealed.

The legislation on particular amendment requires two-third majority (support of 228 MNAs in the National Assembly) for giving it constitutional cover.

The parliament had earlier adopted two bills including the Twenty-First (Amendment) Bill and The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, giving powers to military courts to hear the cases of hardcore criminals. The two-year extension given to the military courts had expired on March 30.

The courts were established in 2015 in the aftermath of Army Public School (APS) attack that had killed over 140 people, mostly children.

The present government is planning to get bills passed from the parliament, which is possible only with the support of main opposition parties (PPP-P and PML-N).

Whereas, the joint opposition has not given any hint to government for supporting it in this particular matter. One of the opposition parties (JUI-F) has even hinted to run anti-government campaign with the support of other main opposition parties. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, in his recent meeting with PPP-P’ Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, had reportedly discussed the matter for running anti-government campaign.

Sources said the government side has put on hold its plan to get engage with opposition for this important legislation. The government, sources said, has so far not initiated plan to approach opposition on this particular matter.

The statement of objects of the constitutional (twenty-eight amendment) bill, says, “Due to extraordinary situation constituting grave threat to the security and integrity of Pakistan from various terrorist groups, armed groups, wings and militia or their members, it is proposed to continue special measures for a further period of two years.”

According to the bill, “An extraordinary situation and circumstances still exist which demand continuation of the special measures adopted for expeditious disposal of certain offence relating to terrorism, waging of war or insurrection against Pakistan.”

“It is necessary,” the bill says, “terrorist groups including any such terrorists fighting while misusing the name of religion or a sect or by committing grave and violent act of terrorism against the state be tried in these courts.”

Talking to The Nation, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ijaz Ahmed Shah said the bill regarding ‘extension of military courts’ will not be on ‘order of the day’ in upcoming session of the National Assembly. “This particular bill might not be tabled in the upcoming session of National Assembly, starting from 22nd April,” said the minister.

The government had shared breakup in December last that the federal government sent as many as 717 cases of suspected terrorists to military courts since their establishment. Out of these, 546 cases had been finalised and a decision had yet to be taken on the remaining cases.

Out of the decided cases, 310 accused in terrorism cases were awarded death penalty while remaining 234 were awarded rigorous imprisonment of various durations including life imprisonment. The military courts also acquitted two accused. Those convicted were involved in major terrorist attacks including APS terrorist attack and Marriot Hotel Islamabad attack.

Political pundits viewed the government side might start its struggle to table the bill for extension of military courts term before budget session in May.