Saturday, March 4, 2017


Herewith excerpts from a News International article about the All Party Conference convened by the Pakistan People's Party about military courts -- with the Editor's italicized questions in brackets.
Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Saturday that his party would extend support to military courts after obtaining legal opinion. [Getting a legal opinion seems like a good idea, albeit a little late -- but this sentence suggests the substantive decision has already been made.]
Addressing the media after PPP's All Parties Conference on the issue of military courts took place, Farhatullah Babar said that heads of various political parties had opposed military courts. He said that even PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had opposed military courts. 
"A committee has been established under Farooq H Naik," he said. "If the need arises, we will prepare our own draft pertaining to military courts and will present it to opposition parties," he said. [If the need arises? Meaning, if it looks like the train is leaving?]
He said that Farooq H Naik would present amendments to the draft presented by the government. [So has the basic principle been decided? This seems to say it has been.]
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the government had failed to implement the National Action Plan. 
"The failure of the government to implement the National Action Plan is its criminal negligence," he said. "We are against military courts. [Okay. Does that mean your party will oppose them in Parliament?] If the need to establish military courts arises, we will present our own draft after consultations with our own lawyers," added the PPP chairman. [If? Under what circumstances would the need "arise"? If it looked liked the 21st Amendment was about to be revived in Parliament?]
To this reader, these comments are like mercury -- impossible to pin down. Just what is this party's position; will it stick with it; under what circumstances will it succumb to pressure; and what conditions would it seek to achieve in a proposed amendment? Your guess is as good as the Editor's. 

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