Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Rewriting history in Pakistan

Dawn reports that the opposition parties in Pakistan's National Assembly are consulting today about efforts to revive the country's military courts. Some parties have already come out against the idea. In an otherwise worthwhile article, the following appears:
At first the 21st Amendment, as it is popularly known, was met with much debate, but over time, military courts wove themselves into the fabric of Pakistan’s criminal justice system.
Offhand, this seems very wide of the mark. The 21st Amendment was rammed through parliament without opposition two years ago. As for the suggestion that the courts "wove themselves into the fabric of Pakistan's criminal justice system," that strikes the Editor as complete rubbish. The Supreme Court sadly upheld the 21st Amendment, but virtually every conviction by these courts was challenged in the civilian courts, and stays were regularly granted. The 21st Amendment trials were held in secret, and defendants' counsel experienced unusual difficulty even obtaining copies of the records of trial. A recent article reported that only four 21st Amendment executions were actually carried out. [Other reports say 12 men have been hanged.]

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