Dawn, the leading Pakistani newspaper, has published a no-nonsense editorial on the country's military courts as authorized by the 21st Amendment. Excerpt:
In January the sunset clause in the 21st Amendment will mean that, barring an extension by parliament, military courts will cease to exist. It is possible that the edifice of military courts could be dismantled before the first batch of appeals is decided.
A question that is not before the Supreme Court, but ought to be asked of those who pushed for and sanctioned military courts is whether convicting 76 individuals in 18 months has been worth the price of distorting the Constitution and sabotaging the justice system in the country.
The alternative — reforming the criminal justice system — may have been more difficult and involved coordinating across many institutions and tiers of government, but such a project could surely have been achieved in two years, if the institutional will had been found. What the country is left with, instead, is a still-broken criminal justice system and military courts that are soon to expire and that will leave in their wake a host of legal complications to resolve in the appeals stage.
It truly appears to be a case of a terrible original idea compounded by predictable complications.