Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunset for the 21st Amendment?

Dawn has this excellent article by Malik Asad about whether the 21st Amendment, which authorizes the trial of civilians by military courts and is due to expire in a month's time, will be extended. Excerpt:
The military spokesman, when contacted, did not comment. 
Military sources, on the other hand, claimed that the government was unwilling to give powers to the military courts even two years back and the APS [Army Public School] incident had forced it to take the decision. They said that the amendment had been introduced with the sunset clause to give time to the government to improve the criminal justice system. However, the government did not upgrade the system and after the expiry of the law, the suspects of terrorism would be tried by the same courts, the sources alleged. 
Minister of State Baleeghur Rehman, however, claimed that the law and order situation had improved manifold and there was no need to extend the military courts’ powers. 
In December 2014, the situation was entirely different, he said, adding that it was easy for the PML-N to persuade other political parties to support the amendment then but it appeared to be difficult now. 
Even otherwise, the situation is under control now and I don’t think there is a need to extend the law, he said.
The weak link in this is that no material steps have been taken to upgrade the administration of justice in Pakistan's civilian criminal courts. Stand by for a "December surprise."

1 comment:

  1. In all probability, the special military courts would get extension for a further period of one year.
    Wg Cdr (Retd) U C Jha


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