Monday, December 22, 2014

Pakistan military courts for civilians? Maybe not

The Express Tribune reports that the proposal floated only a few days ago to permit military courts to try civilians in the wake of the Peshawar school attack may not be moving forward after all. [Editorial comment: phew.] Some details from Kamran Yousaf's account:
[A] senior government official told The Express Tribune that the idea was now being given a second thought in the wake of reservations by the army.
The official, who asked to remain anonymous, said it was not possible for the army to carry out judicial work given that security forces had already been overstretched due to the ongoing operations in tribal areas.
The army instead proposed the government to address shortcomings in the existing judicial system that often allows hardcore terrorists to go scot-free, the official added.
Col (retd) Inaamur Rahim, who served in military’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch, noted establishment of military courts would be a “burden” on army.
He explained that a lot of time, energy, manpower and focus would be required for military courts.
“But in present situation it is not possible for the army to focus on judicial and complex legal side,” commented Rahim, who was also coordinator of military courts in 1997 before the Supreme Court turned down Nawaz Sharif’s decision to form parallel judiciary.
The executive should not put this burden on the military, he added.
Besides the allegation of parallel judiciary and trust deficit in case of military courts, it would further enhance security threats for army, he argued.
“I am optimistic military leadership will decline this offer,” he added.
Note the absence of any reference to the fact that trying civilians in military courts runs counter to contemporary human right standards. 

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