The Senate on Tuesday gave legal cover to military courts by voting 78-3 to pass the 28th Constitutional Amendment Bill with the required two-thirds majority, reported Waqt News.

Several parties - including the Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party - opposed the 28th Constitutional Amendment Bill.

Critics of the military courts argue the government needs to reform the entire judicial system and implement the National Action plan in letter and spirit.

The National Assembly last week approved amendment to the Pakistan Army Act (PAA), days after the government and the opposition agreed to extend the tenure of military courts for another two years.

The proposed 28th Constitution Amendment Bill (which will become the 23rd constitutional amendment after its passage) is similar to the 21st amendment, which was enforced in 2015 to establish military courts for a period of two years.

The bill was moved by Minister for Law Zahid Hamid to amend the Pakistan Army Act, 1952. He said necessary amendments were also made in the act through PAA.

“These measures have yielded positive results in combating terrorism. It is, therefore, proposed to continue these special measures for a further period of two years through this bill.”

Military courts were established and granted permission to try civilians charged with terrorism in Jan 2015 after a wave of terrorism including a brutal attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014, through a constitutional amendment.

The courts have been non-functional since early this year, after the expiry of two-year tenure. Under the ongoing operation against the terrorists, the government again wants to extend the tenure of army courts to try any civilian under the charges of terrorism.