Friday, January 2, 2015

Prime Minister Sharif: this conversation is so over

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
The die seems to be cast for another try at military courts in Pakistan, following a marathon meeting at the Prime Minister's official residence. Parliamentary and military leaders attended. According to this report from the Business Standard:
Eminent lawyer Farough Naseem said that the leaders agreed that first Army Act should be amended to set up military courts and then constitution be amended to give legal cover to the changes made in the Army Act. 
He said it was being done to preempt any action by the Supreme Court which in an earlier decision had already declared the setting up of Military Courts against the constitution. 
Earlier, Prime Minister [Nawaz] Sharif in his opening remarks said that time has come for final action against militants, as politicians differed over how to create military courts for speedy trial of militants. 
"It is time for action against militants. Already a lot of discussion has been held on it," said Sharif. 
"There is no room for further debate in the Parliament," he said. 
Perhaps there is some explanation in terms of Pakistani constitutional law for the planned sequence of legislative actions, but to an outside observer it certainly seems odd to pass a statute known to be of doubtful constitutionality and only then amend the Constitution, rather than the other way around. A challenge in the Supreme Court seems inevitable. This could get very messy.

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