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National

January 12, 2015

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Military courts set to decide fate of several militants in KP, Fata

PESHAWAR: The military courts will decide the fate of militants declared ‘black’ and languishing in different internment centres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
These centres were established under the Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011 for Fata and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata).The 21st Amendment to the Constitution provides constitutional cover to trial of the offences relating to terrorism by the military courts while the amendment to the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, extends the jurisdiction of military courts to try terrorists.
The Constitution (21st Amendment) Act, 2015 shall remain in force for two years from the date of its commencement.As per record of Peshawar High Court (PHC) obtained by The News, there are 1,990 internees languishing in different internment centres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata in terrorism cases. They have been in custody of the security forces for years without any trial.
The authorities concerned have submitted more than 50 reports to the PHC in which the internees have been declared ‘black’ because they were deemed to be hardcore militants.
Following the PHC directives, the oversight boards of different internment centres started submission of reports related to the cases of the internees shifted to the internment centres. In the initial reports, 99 percent internees were declared ‘black’.Two minors were also included in this list. Among them is a seventh grader Abdul Basit and his 14-year old cousin Faiz Muhammad. They were picked up by the intelligence agencies three years ago from a school and later shifted to the internment centres.
The internees are the missing persons, who were traced out and shifted by the security agencies to the internment centres in terrorism charges and held in custody under the Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011.
Legal experts told The News that the military courts were aimed at trying

hardcore militants as majority of the arrested militants were either acquitted by the anti-terrorism courts or had obtained bail from the courts due to the lack of evidence.
Lawyer Muhammad Arif Jan, who deals with the missing persons’ cases, said about 1,990 internees of KP and Fata have been languishing in the internment centres for the last four to five years without any trial.
He said more than 98 percent internees had been declared ‘black’ and they would now face trial in the military courts.The Pakistan People’s Party-led government had enacted the special law, Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011 for Fata and Pata. It gave vast powers to the security forces to take action against the terrorists.
Arif Jan said that no special courts were established under the Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011 for punishing the terrorists. “Resultantly, the security forces kept thousands of terrorists in their custody for fear of their release from courts,” he added.
He said the security forces shifted thousands of missing persons charged in terrorism cases to the internment centres under pressure from the superior courts. “But they were not produced in the anti-terrorism courts due to lack of evidence and fear of acquittal,” he pointed out.
After establishment of the military courts, he said, the military authorities would quickly hear the cases of the militants detained in the internment centres.The law-enforcing agencies have submitted six lists of the missing persons in the PHC. The tally of internees in the respective lists was 934, 80, 42, 96, 130 and 708. They had been traced and shifted to various internment centres.
Another lawyer, Sahibzada Riazatul Haq, said the terror suspects and hardcore militants would be tried by the military courts. He pointed out that the security forces kept the missing persons in custody for years as they did not want the trial of the arrested persons through regular or anti-terrorism courts.

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