Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Kashmiri insight on military courts

Kashmir Images has this hard-hitting essay on Pakistan's military courts (and their threatened revival) by Mohammad Shehzad. Excerpt:
The most lamentable aspect of this episode was, the military courts were supported by all the opposition parties including the one which waged a long struggle against the military rule. Yes, the Pakistan People’s Party whose founder Z A Bhutto preferred to walk to the gallows instead of bowing his head before the military dictator Gen Ziaul Haq. The PPP senator Razza Rabbani cried after voting in the Senate (the upper house) in favor of the military courts. ‘I have been in the Senate for more than 12 years, but have never been as ashamed as I am today and I cast my vote against my conscience.’ (He could have resigned instead of going against a so-called conscience!) Isn’t shameful that there was not a single vote against the military courts? 
The military courts were set for two years in January 2015. They sentenced 161 people to death, 12 of them have been executed and 169 to life imprisonment. According to advocate lieutenant colonel (retired) Inamur Rehman, the military courts never provided the copies of the proceedings of trials. He cited the case of Nadeem Ahmad Shah advocate. Shah was framed on false charges. His counsel gave the prosecution a tough time in cross examination. As a result, Shah was acquitted but after this acquittal, the military court did not allow any accused to have a defense counsel.
If the military courts were set up to frighten the terrorists then they were an utter failure. On January 20, 2016, the ‘strategic assets’ attacked Bacha Khan University in Charsadda (Khyber Pakhtoonkhua) killing 22 people and wounding another 20. On August 8, 2016, seventy people were killed and 100 wounded in a suicide attack in Quetta at emergency war of Civil Hospital Quetta. On October 24, 2016 Quetta was again a target of suicide bombers. This time, they attacked the Quetta Police Academy killing 61 cadets. Were military courts’ summary trials able to stop the terror?

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