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February 1, 2017

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MPs’ third meeting on military courts remains inconclusive

MPs’ third meeting on military courts remains inconclusive

Opposition expresses no confidence in briefing by law minister; raises objection to absence of interior minister, relevant officers

ISLAMABAD: The third meeting of parliamentary leaders of the National Assembly (NA) on the issue of military courts remained inconclusive Tuesday as the opposition expressed no confidence in the briefing on the issue by the law minister.

They also sought answers for the future of military courts and guarantee from the government for implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) in its real spirit. The meeting, chaired by NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, held consultation on the issue of extension of military courts and ended inconclusively for a third time as the opposition sought clarifications from the government on the future steps for military courts and guarantee for the implementation of NAP.

During the meeting, Law Minister Zahid Hamid gave replies to questions of the opposition on the performance of military courts. However, the opposition expressed no satisfaction on the briefing and even raised question of absence of the interior minister and security officials from the meeting.

Deputy Parliamentary Leader of the PTI Shah Mehmood Qureshi who left in the middle of the meeting told newsmen that the opposition members raised four basic questions but did not get answers from the government.

Qureshi said the first question was whether the government allied parties agreed on giving extension of the military courts as the opposition did not know which side these parties are on. Second question, he said, was that why the interior minister and senior security officials were not present for the briefing but the government did not answer this question.

Third question, he said, was that whether this forum has power to make any decisions as the decision of establishing military court was taken in the APC chaired by the Prime Minister. “The fourth question was what kind of reforms were introduced for the anti-terrorism courts in last two years and if no reforms were made then whether reforms will be introduced this time,” he said.

He said the government did not give any reply to these questions. He said on the one hand, the government wanted to get the support from the opposition on the issue of extension of military courts but on the other the government did not take its allies into confidence on the issue.

Qureshi said the opposition wanted briefing on this issue by the security agencies as Law Minister Zahid Hamid could not give briefing on this issue. While talking to newsmen after the meeting, Parliamentary Leader of the PPP Parliamentarians Syed Naveed Qamar said the meeting remained inconclusive and they were still where they were on very first day. “We have sought road map for military courts from the government, which the government promised to present in the next meeting,” he said,

Parliamentary leader of the MQM Dr Farooq Sattar said guarantee was sought from the government for implementation of the NAP in its true spirit. In the meanwhile, Law Minister Zahid Hamid told newsmen the government has responded in detail to all queries of the opposition and also briefed the opposition on the performance of military courts. “The incidents of terrorism were drastically reduced due to military operation Zarb-e-Azb and military courts,” he added.

He said the government was making efforts to reach a decision on extension of military courts with consensus. The minister said roadmap for military courts would be presented in the next meeting on February 16.

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