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PPP,PLM-N failed to reach consensus on military courts

16 March, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The government and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) during a meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday failed to reach consensus over a two-year extension to military courts. Despite Wednesday's being the fifth meeting discussing the draft bill on an extension to military courts, an impasse between the two parties persisted.

"There has been no progress so far, and we have not come to a consensus regarding the draft bill yet," said Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, who was heading a four-member PPP team, which included Farooq Naek, Sherry Rehman and Naveed Qamar.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Law Minister Zahid Hamid represented the government, whereas National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq facilitated the talks.

Ahsan told the media after the meeting, "We believe there is no chance that we will meet again with the government to negotiate our proposals."

After a failure to reach a consensus on the matter, the government and the PPP have both decided to bring up the issue in a meeting of parliamentary leaders, PPP leader Naveed Qamar said.

He added that Sadiq was expected to convene a meeting of parliamentary leaders today (Thursday).

"We will explain our position to parliamentary leaders and the government will tell its side of the story," Qamar said. "We will be waiting for the meeting. Our nine points are very reasonable," he claimed.

The PPP had forwarded the following points: "Military courts shall be presided over by one sessions judge or additional sessions judge with a military officer; the sessions/additional sessions judge will be nominated by the chief justice of Pakistan; period will be for one year from starting date; right of judicial review by high courts under Article 199 of the constitution; high court shall decide case within 60 days; accused to be produced within 24 hours before the court concerned; accused to be supplied with grounds of arrest within 24 hours; accused shall have right to engage counsel of his choice; and provisions of Qanoon-i-Shahadat 1984 shall apply."

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