Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Another account: there will be a 25th Amendment in Pakistan

"One more thing"
Consult three news outlets in Pakistan and you will get three (or more) different takes on the state of play concerning revival of the military courts that had been authorized for two years under the country's 21st Amendment. This one, from The Express Tribune, is the most detailed -- and suggests that the train is leaving the station, or already has:
Sources privy to the crucial huddle said the top military leadership led by Director General Military Intelligence Maj Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj and representatives from the Inter-Services Intelligence and Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch briefed the panel about the performance of the military courts. 
After the briefing, participants of the meeting agreed that the performance of the courts was ‘beyond question’, insiders said. They agreed to introduce the 25th amendment to extend the courts’ tenure for two years and decided to further deliberate on the issue in the next meeting on February 16, sources added. According to them, a breakthrough is likely in the next meeting. 
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid said the opposition had reservations over the matter but were willing to evolve consensus on military courts. “Given the circumstances, this has to be done. We hold serious reservations towards the attitude of the government but hopefully things would be okay after the next meeting.”
No word about what the JAG Branch representative(s) said about "the performance of the military courts." Here are the questions they should have been asked. Some participants seem to be going along even though the briefing was deficient:
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi reportedly said in the meeting that the opposition parties were fully convinced with the military officials’ briefing but their reservations regarding federal government were unanswered. 
“We acknowledge the sacrifices made by our security forces in making our country safe and secure that it is today. But federal government has failed to answer our questions. However, in broader national interest, we are ready to support if any amendment is introduced to extend military courts’ tenure,” he said, reportedly.
In the immortal words of Detective Columbo (Peter Falk), "one more thing": Why aren't these meetings open to the public? 

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