Saturday, June 13, 2015

Will Pakistan's military court legislation now be amended?

This Dawn article, reporting on proceedings in the Pakistani lower house, indicates that the Constitution (Twenty-first Amendment) Act, 2015 and Army (Amendment) Act, 2015, may now be amended to remove references to religious sects. It's less than clear, but consider this excerpt:
It was later that the JUI-F [Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F] chief said his party had actually abstained in the parliament vote on the ground that expressions used in both the Constitution (Twenty-first) Amendment and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2015 about terrorist or armed groups “using the name of religion or a sect” could possibly be used to target madressah-educated youth while sparing non-religious militants from similar trials by military courts. 
In his National Assembly speech on Thursday, when the government received more brickbats than bouquets on its third budget, the JUI-F chief said he was thankful to Pakistan People’s Party for agreeing to remove references to religion in defining acts of terrorism or insurrection. 
There was no immediate reaction to the Maulana’s claim at the end of his speech, before the house broke for Friday prayers. 
If true, that would mean a new constitution amendment bill, which must be approved by two-thirds majority in both the 342-seat National Assembly and the 104-seat Senate, and another to further amend the Army Act, and possibly more public controversy as had happened earlier this year. . . .

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