The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Pakistan was established in August 1999, to make a few selected judges available for quick justice for criminals who were suspected terrorists. The judges appointed in ATC all get exceptional salaries and privileges, so that they may efficiently and honestly do their jobs. The job of an ATC judge is to use all information possible to analyse the crime and to punish criminals quickly. Criminals accused of terrorism are sent to the Anti-Terrorism Court, under the “Pakistan Anti-Terrorism (Amendment)  Ordinance”.

But we have witnessed, and the Pakistan Army complained, that ATC in Pakistan is ineffective. Most of the terrorists were released for lack of evidence or other issues. The final nail in the coffin was hammered in when the much publicised Gullu Butt’s actions, witnessed by the whole country live, destroying cars, private property and promoting terrorism in Lahore, was released by the ATC on his first application. It is ironic, that the ATC was created by the current Prime Minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif, back in August 1999 and Pervez Musharraf used the same ATC to sentence Nawaz Sharif the following year. Therefore the PM also knows, first-hand, of the failures of the ATC. I believe it is time that all such useless institutes such as NAB and ATC should be closed down; all the perks and privileges stopped. All terrorism cases should be heard by Military courts, under strict rule, and strict punishment should be meted out to the culprits to set the records straight.

ENGR. SHAHRYAR KHAN BASEER,

Peshawar, August 21.