ISLAMABAD - Minister for Information Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid on Sunday said that in the past military courts were used to crush democracy but now these would protect democracy and democratic rights of the people besides holding trials of terrorists.

In an interview, he said that some people expressed their reservations regarding the decision of establishing Special Courts in the backdrop of past history, particularly with reference to the tenure of dictatorships when Constitution remained suspended or was abrogated. Now these courts will owe their birth from the Constitution of Pakistan, he assured. He said these courts would be constituted for a specific timeframe with a specified objective to deal with the terrorists only. He said for Pakistan, peace in Afghanistan was as important as in Pakistan.

He said that Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had played a key role in persuading and bringing the leadership of Afghanistan on the same page, on the issues of peace and stability in the region. He said that now both countries would join hands to root out terrorism as peace was a joint asset for both. Pervaiz Rashid said that PML-N during election campaign included three Es - Extremism, Energy and Economy - as part of its manifesto.

He said during the past one and a half year considerable progress was

made on the fronts of economy and energy, but it was an admitted fact that no country could prosper and make progress without peace. Thus, elimination of terrorism was essential for the prosperity of Pakistan, he added.

To a question, he said that now the special courts would deal with only terrorists cases.

He said that all the political forces were united on this issue and legislation would be done to determine what kind of cases be referred to these courts and their mandate would also be pointed out.

He said that the country's seminaries not only imparted education to those students who were unable to meet their educational expenses, but also provided boarding and lodging facilities to them.

He said it was ,however, a fact that some Madaris were misused by some elements but steps would be taken to bring them in educational mainstream. As far as their funding was concerned, the Minister said it was not limited to Madaris only, anyone can get funding from abroad or through any other illegal source, he opined.

He said that the working groups constituted by the Prime Minister would hold consultations with organisations of Madaris so that a system could be evolved under which seminaries could run their affairs transparently.

He said that the Peshawar incident was a national tragedy and since that day the government and national leadership were fully focussing not only to formulate, but to implement policies to eliminate terrorism from the country. The Prime Minister reached Peshawar the same day and the Army chief visited Kabul and held meaningful negotiations with Afghan leadership, he said.

Moreover, he said that National Action Plan Committee completed its recommendations within seven days and working groups were also given only two to three days for completion of their tasks. Besides, the culprits involved in terrorist activities were being executed so it was inappropriate to state that implementation process was slow, he said.

The Minister said terrorism was an international issue and the entire world would have to work together to tackle the menace. He said as far as capital punishment was concerned, Pakistan was not the only country where convicts were executed.

Several other countries and some states of the United States were also continuing with capital punishment to the convicts, he said.

He said that Pakistan as an independent country took its own decisions and that the world would have to respect those decisions.

Pervaiz Rashid said that the priority of the government was to make the future of Pakistan safe and secure and for this purpose all steps including severe punishment of killers of innocent children was the responsibility of the State.

About National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), he said that it would work to develop a mechanism for intelligence sharing among the institutions concerned.  

Moreover, NACTA would analyze shared data and implement decisions taken in this regard. This mechanism would be evolved with the help of national security institutions, he added.

He said that the war against terrorism also had an ideological aspect and media had to play its role to counter that ideology.

He said that practically terrorists acted through weapons and guns, while ideologically they spread their ideas to prepare such minds which became ready to kill and get killed, and consider terrorism as a holy mission and a sure ticket to paradise.

He said the nation had to protect the future of generations from the clutches of these inhuman killers. If today stern actions were not taken, the terrorists would turn the country into a graveyard and this would not be allowed at any cost, he asserted.

About Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), he said that terrorists had occupied their homes and they were taken hostage, but now IDPs were free and soon they  would be settled in their respective areas. He further said that 2013 elections were not conducted by PML-N, rather they were held under a caretaker set up. Still the government believed that if someone had any doubt and reservation, the matter should be investigated and a commission be formed, he said.

Electoral system in Pakistan should be above suspicion and all should have faith in it, he said, adding, that only those nations progressed, who had made decisions in Parliaments instead of the roads.

He said that he believed that PTI chief Imran Khan would come back to the Parliament and work with the government to strengthen democracy and democratic system.