While the amendment of the Constitution and the Army Act has been controversial enough in Pakistan, it is the extension of these courts to Gilgit-Baltistan that has raised eyebrows.
It may be recalled that on November 25, 2014, an Anti-Terrorism Court in Gilgit had sentenced the owner of the Jang-GEO Group, Mir Shakeelur Rehman, and actor Veena Malik and her husband Malik Asad to 26-year imprisonment and fined them Rs. 1.3 million each for blasphemy.
The judgment had stunned the legal and political fraternity of Pakistan because, legally, the Gilgit-Baltistan courts had no jurisdiction outside that area and could not proceed against a citizen of Pakistan. More importantly, the Pakistan Government itself clarified that Gilgit-Baltistan was not a constitutional part of Pakistan.
This being so, it boggles the mind as to how military courts can be extended to Gilgit-Baltistan now.
The reason is that the Constitution of Pakistan has been amended to set up these courts. The Constitution is not applicable in Gilgit-Baltistan. So, how can military courts be set up in Gilgit-Baltistan?