Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian President Asif Ali Zardari said yesterday that his party has put forth a nine-point set of recommendations to the government on the subject of extension in military courts’ tenure. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar confirmed that government received the proposals and would renew efforts to develop consensus on the issue, once again.
The PPP president was addressing a press conference, where he said his party is not against the extension, adding that the military courts should be given an extension of one year only.
He said that his party is only forwarding recommendations and not going against the military courts. Zardari added that the PPP would raise the issue in the Parliament.
He said that the PPP in its suggestions recommended that the suspect should be entitled to have a lawyer of his choice and should be presented before a court for remand within 24 hours.
Zardari said that the courts should also be headed be a sessions or additional judge.
“There’s a difference between the notifications issued regarding the extension of the policing powers of Rangers in Sindh than that of other provinces,” he said in an apparent reference to the recent deployment of Rangers in Punjab.
On March 4, the PPP summoned an All Parties Conference over the issue of military courts’ extension.
Sources said that the APC tried to achieve consensus over extension of military courts and discuss a draft for the constitutional amendment. The participants would also try to obtain an assurance from the Prime Minister that before the time period for military courts expires, the government should take solid steps to ensure reform in the civil judiciary system.
The military courts set up in the aftermath of the Army Public School Attack in 2014, expired after their two-year-period in January this year. All cases being tried in the military courts were handed over to the anti-terrorism courts.
However, a recent wave of terrorism in Pakistan which includes suicide attacks in Lahore and Sehwan, resumed the debate on setting up military courts for speedy trial and conviction of terrorists.