ISLAMABAD - Leaders of political parties in both houses of the Parliament will on Wednesday (today) deliberate on a government-crafted draft bill seeking an extension to military courts.

It is likely that a consensus will be reached on the revival of military courts.

For the first time, parliamentary leaders in Senate will also be attending a huddle of an informal committee headed by National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq that has deliberated the issue during a series of meetings in the past.

The government agreed to include senators in the deliberation after Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani expressed his reservation on the composition of the committee sans representation of the upper house.

Sources aware of the development told The Nation that the huddle would reach a consensus on the draft bill but most likely the final go-ahead would be given by the parliamentary heads in a meeting with the prime minister on his return from Turkey.

The informal parliamentary committee has held six meetings but the leaders could not reach a consensus on the extension to the military courts, as leaders of some religious and nationalist parties have expressed reservations and wanted their concerns addressed before reviving the military courts.

Parliamentary leaders from Senate, who will attend the meeting, included JI chief Sirajul Haq, PML-N’s Mushahid Ullah Khan, PPP’s Taj Haider, PML-Q’s Mushahid Hussain, BNP-M’s Jahanzeb Jamaldini, PML-F’s Muzaffar Hussain Shah, BNP-A’s Mir Israr Ullah Khan Zehri, NP’s Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, PkMAP’s Usman Khan Kakar, JUI-F’s Talha Mahmood, ANP’s Ilyas Bilour, MQM’s Tahir Hussain Mashadi and Fata senator Hadayat Ullah Khan.

The sources aware of the backchannel contacts were optimistic about the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting.

Some leaders of opposition parties were demanding another all parties conference on the matter to fully address the concerns of the parties, some of which in coalition with the government, a parliamentarian belonging to an opposition party told The Nation.

Government sources said that Pakistan People’s Party would shore up support for the government which would neutralise some smaller parties opposing the extension and with the support of PPP, the government would easily garner a two-third majority in both houses of the Parliament to overcome hurdles.

A senior ruling party parliamentarian said that as it was not just the matter of number game the government was trying to take all political stakeholders onboard on the issue to give a message that the whole nation was united to fight the menace of terrorism.

Previously the Jamaat-i-Islami and Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal had abstained the voting on a piece of legislation under which the military courts were established and if the concerns of JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman were not addressed his party may abstain from voting on the fresh draft bill.

The sources said that in case a consensus on draft bill in today’s meeting was achieved the government would call a joint session of both the houses in next week to get the bill approved.

These sources said that in case a disagreement persists, a meeting would be called under the chair of the prime minister next week to settle the issue.