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PPP not to support extension to military courts

January 19, 2019

KARACHI: The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has decided not to support the proposal to be tabled in Parliament in the form of a constitutional amendment bill to further extend the regime of military courts in the country

The PPP took a decision to this effect on Friday at a top-level meeting of the party held here at the Bilawal House and jointly chaired by People's Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari. Senior leaders of PPP attended the meeting.

The PPP in its meeting decided to zealously defend the 18th Constitutional Amendment ensuring provincial autonomy and also to raise vociferous voice of the party on important national issues within and outside the parliament.

Later, briefing newsmen about deliberations of the meeting, former prime minister and senior PPP leader Yousuf Raza Gilani said that the meeting of the party had considered in detail the issue of extension in military courts in the country. He said that his party had reservations on military courts.

Senior PPP leader Farhatullah Babar said they suspected that the judiciary could be militarised in case any unusual law was passed in the country (to give an extension to military courts). He said that earlier JITs and similar other aspects in the country had been militarised.

“When the judiciary asks about missing persons, then it is informed that the issue is being heard by the military court. So in the same manner, other affairs could also be militarised,” he said. Yousuf Raza Gilani said that the meeting of the party also considered the issue of accountability drive in the country. He said that issues related to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) related to fake bank accounts were being seen by lawyers associated with the party. He said the People's Party would not be frustrated by the undue tactics being used by the JIT and NAB.

Yousuf Raza Gilani said that his party wanted the creation of a full-fledged province in the south Punjab area with its own governor and chief minister. He said that mere establishment of an administrative unit as proposed by the present government would not suffice the desire of PPP regarding the south Punjab province.

He said federal ministers had started unduly criticising Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari whenever they spoke about the rights of the people. Sindh Information Adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab said the institutions built by PPP’s Sindh government were being snatched from it. He said the Sindh government would continue to build such institutions under the guidance of leadership of the party.

He said the Supreme Court had objected to the names of Sindh chief minister and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari mentioned in the report of JIT as despite these observations of the apex judiciary, the federal government had decided not to exclude their names from the JIT report.

He said the federal government had delayed its review on the issue of placing the names of 172 people on the Exit Control List despite the directives of the Supreme Court. He said the federal government had not extended any favour to anyone by deleting the names of Sindh CM and Bilawal from the ECL.

Meanwhile, PPP’s top-level meeting decided to strengthen the alliance of grand opposition in the parliament and to publicly expose the shortcomings and failures of the present government in safeguarding the public interests.

The meeting took into consideration an alarming increase in inflation and hike in prices of essential commodities, causing serious miseries to people. Former president Asif Ali Zardari, while chairing the meeting, said that his party would use the forum of parliament to oppose the unjust policies of federal government .

Zardari said that he wanted to convey to the quarters which had placed his and Bilawal’s names on the ECL that he had underwent similar problems in the past too. “The falling wall will collapse automatically and nobody is required to push this wall to the ground,” he was quoted to have said while chairing the meeting.

The meeting among others was attended by former PM Raja Pervez Ashraf, Aitzaz Ahsan, Mian Raza Rabbani, Sherry Rehman, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, Farooq H Naek, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, and Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed.