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Pakistan military courts cease to function

IANS | April 01, 2019 03:38 PM

ISLAMABAD: Military courts in Pakistan, set up in 2015 to help the government curb terror attacks, have ceased to function following the expiry of their second two-year constitutional term.

The term of these courts ended on Sunday but the Pakistan government has already made the decision to give them another extension of two years, the Express Tribune reported on Monday.

However, the government's decision lacks the support of opposition parties as it does not have the required two-thirds majority in any of the two houses of the Parliament to carry out the constitutional amendment for the purpose, the report said.

There is no official data available about the cases heard and tried by these military courts. The National Assembly, however, was informed in November that the military authorities had to decide 185 terrorism-related cases before the expiry of their two-year term in March, according to Dawn online.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the government had decided to engage the opposition to take it into confidence over the issue as without their support the period of the military courts could not be extended.

On the other hand, the Pakistan Peoples Party, which had previously taken a tough stance on the issue and extended only conditional support to the previous government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz over the issue, is opposed to giving an extension to the military courts to try civilians on terrorism charges.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said that the courts had over the past four years decided 478 cases and sentenced 284 people to death out of which 56 had already been executed.

Pakistan in 2015 resumed military trials for terror suspects and lifted a moratorium on the death penalty after a Taliban attack on a Peshawar school in 2014 killed 150 people, mostly young students.

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