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January 15, 2019

Veterans want military courts to function

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January 15, 2019

RAWALPINDI: The Veterans of Pakistan (VOP) has said it is absolutely necessary that the military courts continue to function till complete peace is restored across the country. Pakistan is not only facing threat from the TTP but also from other groups, including ISIS and Daesh, which should not be taken lightly, they said.

A meeting of the VOP (formerly PESA) was held with its President Lt Gen (retd) Ali Kuli Khan in the chair in which it was observed that the issue of military courts should not be used to gain political mileage as it was linked with the national security. Those who are crying for human rights should also look at the US, the most powerful democracy in the world which needed a detention centre like the Guantanamo Bay, they added. They said the Guantanamo Bay is the worst kind of prison in the modern world, but it is considered a necessity for the national security of the USA.

Even inside the USA, their Patriot Act has given vast powers to the investigation agencies and far enhanced punishments for the convicted. The veterans noted that when soldiers feel pride in sacrificing their lives for the country, our people also want quick and harsh punishments for terrorists. With our present legal system, their trials have a tendency to stretch out to unlimited periods or sometimes the investigators fail to provide enough evidence to prove charges, thus losing effectiveness. They said the military courts do not deny human rights for the peace-loving citizens. They also follow the Evidence Act, but their trials should not be judged or compared with the civil courts. They noted that politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers have been killed by terrorists while judges and important officials have been receiving death threats.

The members stressed the need to expedite long awaited judicial reforms. There is a need to quicken the pace of trials for terrorism and also heinous crimes which have taken alarming proportions. Vice Admiral (retd) Ahmad Tasnim, Air Marshal Masood Akhtar, Brig Mian Mahmud, Brig Arbi Khan, Brig Simon Sharaf, Col Riaz Jafri, Col (retd) Dalel Khan, Maj (retd) Farouk Hamid Khan, Maj (retd) Muhammad Akram, Capt (retd) Dr Babur Zaheeruddin, and Brig (retd) Masudul Hassan were also present at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the VOP also held its Annual General Meeting that re-elected the present team for the next term.

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