Thursday, December 25, 2014

Pakistan watch

The news has been coming hot and heavy out of Pakistan concerning the military courts that seem to be a done deal. Here are two worthwhile reports from The Dawn:

A parallel justice system?:
[Retired JAG] Col [Inamur] Rahim was also of the view that military courts, which are established in specific Corps Headquarters, disturb the routine functioning of the corps.
“A single military court consists of a presiding officer - an officer of Lt-Col rank - and two members who are usually majors. Then it has a Judge Advocate General (JAG) who too is an officer of Lt-Col rank. In addition, the prosecutor and the defending officers are also at least of major rank. In addition, it also needs administrative staff which included officers of Lt-Col, majors, captains and their subordinates,” he pointed out.
He argued that when all these senior personnel were busy in running a court, their other work suffered.
Another expert with a similar experience is retired Colonel Malik Mohammad Akram who was also of the opinion that military courts are meant to “maintain discipline” within the force.
“On the other hand, civilian courts that deal with criminal cases are aimed at maintaining law and order in the society. The presiding officer of the military court may not be well versed with the legal practice,” he said.
He suggested that instead of establishing the military courts, the government could enhance the number of ATCs and increase the number of judges to preside over them.
Amending the Constitution: precedents recalled:
“We have a long history of military courts in Pakistan which have never delivered,” Mr [Hamid] Khan regretted, adding that the decision taken by the political leadership seems to have been made under duress.

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