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Top Story

January 11, 2017



PPP, JUI-F oppose military courts’ reconstitution

PTI says govt must give solid reasons for reconstitution of courts;
Ayaz says issue will be decided in consultation with political forces; parliamentary parties’ meeting draws a blank, to meet again on 17th

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) on Tuesday opposed the reconstitution of military courts during a consultative meeting of parliamentary leaders of political parties in the National Assembly.


The meeting, chaired by the National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, was attended by the parliamentary leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), JUI-F, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-Pakistan) and Jamaat-e-Islami.

Ayaz said the government wanted to decide the military courts' issue in consultation with all the political forces.  Law Minister Zahid Hamid briefed the meeting on the reconstitution of military courts.

JUI-F leader Akram Durrani said their viewpoint about the military courts was still the same and they will not support their reconstitution. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah said they would like to hear from the government what circumstances had prompted it to move for the reconstitution and what alternatives were available.

JI chief Sirajul Haq said his party believed in strengthening the civilian courts instead of seeking the military’s help to take hardcore terrorists to task. “However, if the opposition parties put their weight behind the military, we will stand by the parliamentary forces,” he said.

Meanwhile, the PPP and other opposition parties protested against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Amendment Ordinance. Earlier, the opposition parties held a separate meeting with the Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah.

It was decided that the opposition would adopt a joint strategy on the issue and reject the reconstitution of military courts. JI Parliamentary Leader Sahibzada Tariqullah, PPP leader Naveed Qamar, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Shireen Mazari participated in the meeting.

Taking to the media, Qureshi said military courts had done a great job and drastically reduced terrorism but his question was that what the government had done in two years to strengthen the criminal justice system.

He said Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali had earlier said cases of terrorism would be handled by the anti-terrorism courts. “We want the government to give solid reasons for reconstituting the military courts,” Qureshi said.

The meeting concluded without reaching any agreement on the issue of military courts and decided to meet again on January 17. Speaking to a private TV, Khursheed Shah said the next session will be held on January 17 in which the government will brief us on the performance of military courts.

In a brief talk with the media following the meeting, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said another meeting had been scheduled for January 17 to mull over the matter. PPP's Parliamentary Leader in the National Assembly Syed Naveed Qamar told reporters that the PPP was compelled to vote in favour of military courts but the party was now opposing their reconstitution. “The government has failed to implement the National Action Plan (NAP),” he added.