ISLAMABAD - Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman made it loud and clear, that his party would not support extension for military courts, if the government would not delink religion and sects from terrorism mentioned in the 21st Constitutional Amendment.

Talking to the media after attending parliamentary parties’ leaders meeting with the speaker to work out the modalities of military courts’ extension, the JUI-F chief said that if all the political parties would agree on granting extension to the military courts they would also accept it as a “bad option”.

But he also set the condition of deletion of the clause in 21st Constitutional Amendment giving the impression of a link between religion and sects with terrorism.

The JUI-F chief said that anyone who picks arms against the state fall in category of terrorism, and trying to establish a link between religion and terrorism was unjust and that was the reason they were demanding from day one to erase that impression from the 21st Constitutional Amendment.

The 21st Constitutional Amendment passed in January 2015 had provided the grounds for establishment of the military courts in the country and at that time when the amendment was tabled for passage before the parliament, the JUI-F leadership had abstained from voting in protest against the wording of the amendment wherein the impression of a link between terrorism with religion and sects was given.

To a question, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that they had reservation over the military courts when those were established in 2015, and even now their reservations were very much in place as over the past two years those courts had failed to deliver. He said that had there been the National Security Committee of the Parliament in place the performance of those courts would be exposed in it.

Rehman stressed the need for implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) in totality and strengthening of the existing judicial system instead of erecting parallel set ups.

He grilled the PTI leadership, which according to him was trying to pitch the religious forces in the country against the state, whereas in his view there was no matter of conflict between the two.

Rehman said that all they were talking about was based on the performance of the military courts since their establishment in January 2015.

He said that even if the political forces would agree on granting extension to these military courts for a certain period, his party would honour the collective wisdom of the political forces and would accept it as a “bad option”.

To a question, Rehman said that their demand for early constitution of the National Security Committee of the parliament was valid and relevant, adding that had any such body in place there would not have been questions on the performance of the military courts and people would not be talking about its failure over the past two years.

The JUI-F chief dispelled the impression of any divide in the political leadership of the country in the ongoing war against terror and thanked former president Asif Ali Zardari for ending the boycott of the committee and sending his representative to resolve the issue of military courts extension.

He further said that linking terrorism either with some particular cast or with a religious sect was wrong as according to him the Pashtuns had faced the brunt of terrorism.