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February 17, 2017

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No good terrorist, bad terrorist in govt’s draft military court bill

No good terrorist, bad terrorist in govt’s draft military court bill

ISLAMABAD: The government’s draft constitutional amendment for the setting up of military courts for three years, also aims at undoing the past mistake of dividing terrorists into two categories -- good terrorists and bad terrorists.

The 21st Amendment, under which the military courts worked for two years, had envisaged that only those suspect terrorists would be tried in the military courts who belonged to any terrorist group or organisation using the name of religion or a sect.

Thus those involved in terrorism and massive killings, mainly in Balochistan and Karachi, were exempted from the military court’s trial only because they belonged to
terrorist organisations that are not using the name of religion or sect. 

Because of this serious discrimination, no case of any terrorist belonging to the MQM or any proscribed/terrorist organisation from Balochistan, was referred to the military courts from January 2015 till January 2017.

Now the government draft, already shared with the opposition parties to develop a political consensus, duly rectifies the past mistake and suggests sending cases of suspect terrorists belonging to any terrorist group or organisation to military courts.

Under the 21st Amendment, the trial of a person by military court was specific to the suspect terrorist, “who, claims, or is known, to belong to any terrorist group or organization using the name of religion or a sect”. The said amendment also contained an explanation, which reads, “In this proviso, the expression ‘sect’ means a sect of religion and does not include any religious or political party regulated under the Political Parties Order, 2002.”

Now the government’s fresh draft constitutional amendment seeks the setting up of military courts for three years but unlike the past the proposed amendment to Article 175 covers all terrorists and terrorist organizations.

The cases of those suspect terrorists could be referred to the military courts who claim or are known to belong to any terrorist group or organization and, -- “(a) raise arms or wage war against Pakistan, or attack the Armed Forces of Pakistan or law enforcement agencies or public servants or attack any civil or military installations in Pakistan; or (b) abduct any person for ransom, or cause injury or death of any person; or (c) possess, store, fabricate or transport or use the explosive, fire-arms, instruments, articles, suicide jackets; or (d) use or design vehicles for terrorist act; or (e) provide or receive funding from any foreign or local source for the illegal activity under this clause; or (f) act to over-awe the state or any section of the public; or (g) create terror or insecurity in Pakistan or attempt to commit any of the said acts within or outside Pakistan.” Under the proposed constitutional amendment, the military courts will try only those cases which would be referred by the federal government. 

   

 

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