Pakistan announces Military Courts amid Skepticism

Posted December 24th, 2014 at 9:10 pm (UTC+0)
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Behroz Khan
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Prompted by the massacre of school children in Peshawar, Pakistan seems to have succeeded in mustering the crucial support of the political and military leadership to come on the same page to take effective steps to eliminate the menace of terrorism.
“We will establish the military courts for trying the terrorists,” the prime minister Nawaz Sharif announced in a speech to the nation after the day-long deliberations with members of parliament, political and military leaders. There is a mixed reaction to the formation of military courts. The legal community in Pakistan have spoken pro and against the military-led speedy justice. Fahim Wali, a legal expert says military court in the past has worked as investigator, prosecutor and executor of the justice. Some civil society groups and leading lawyer Tareq Mehmood see the step as violation of the constitution.
Pakistanis were impatiently waiting for the outcome of the week-long deliberations of the special committee constituted by the government in consultations with parties having representation in the country’s parliament. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his speech expressed his government resolve in no uncertain words saying there would be no place for terrorist outfits throughout the country including Punjab.
“The pain inflicted by the terrorists will not go unpunished,” said the premier in his televised speech Wednesday night.
The December 16 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar left 134 students and nine staff members of the school dead and scores of others injured when terrorists from banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) stormed the school. Three watchmen and a soldier were also killed in the attack. Pakistan military spokesman General Asim Saleem Bajwa in a tweet said that all the seven attackers were eliminated.
Details of the recommendations were revealed to media by Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif which beside other measures, entrusted Pakistan armed forces to play central role both in the offensive at the ground against militants as well as establishing summary military courts to deal with the terrorists.
The Prime Minister announced that necessary amendments will be made in the constitution to create room for the establishment of Special Trial Courts to be headed by military officers. Pakistani civil courts could not manage to deal with the terrorists as majority of the accused were either freed by courts due to lack of evidences or their cases could not be brought before the courts for years. Nawaz Sharif said the Special Trial Courts would be functional for two years.
The anti-terrorism policy, political analysts believe has been brought for the first time since the taking over of power by Nawaz Sharif in June 2013. Sharif praised the political leadership and Chief of the armed forces, Gen. Raheel Sharif for their resolve to fight terrorism in all forms.
“No private armed groups, their hideouts, financing and hate literature will be tolerated,” Mr. Sharif said adding that the days of terrorists have been numbered in the new Pakistan. “We will revenge the blood of the children and it will be very soon,” he said. The prime minister didn’t name the banned militant outfits unleashing terror and hate with different names and faces. The government’s determination will be tested in Punjab and Pakhtunkhwa provinces as well as in the tribal belt known as FATA. Punjab is the stronghold of US and India wanted militant leader Hafiz Saeed, Pakhtunkhwa and FATA is considered hub of terrorism with strongholds of the lethal Haqqani network, TTP and several foreign and local terrorist groups.
To find political solution to the issue of volatile Balochistan province, where Baloch nationalists fight for their independence from Pakistan, the premier said full powers are being delegated to the provincial government to seek a negotiated and viable solution to the conflict. Pakistan is in the grip of militancy and sectarian violence sense decades which took tens of thousands of lives and forced millions of people, especially Pashtuns and Baloch to become Internally displaced people (IDPs). Nawaz Sharif also said that steps are being taken to send the IDPs back to their homes and areas in FATA.

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