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Parliamentarian to reach consensus on military courts

13 March, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: A meeting of all parliamentary leaders would be held on Monday to reach a consensus on military courts. In a statement, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the government, on March 10 tabled in the National Assembly Bills for Constitutional and Army Act Amendments.

He said the drafts of the bills were agreed upon on February 28 in a meeting, chaired by the National Assembly speaker and attended by parliamentary leaders of all the parties in Senate and National Assembly.

However, some amendments to the proposed bills have subsequently been suggested by the PPP and some other parties.

In order to discuss the proposals and to develop a consensus, the speaker has convened, on the request of the government, a meeting of all the parliamentary party leaders.

The minister said that under the current circumstances, the nation is looking for a united, coherent and resolute response by the political parties to effectively tackle terrorism.

He said that in the last few years, the political parties have developed a culture of 'consensus through dialogue' on issues of national importance.

Dar hoped that in the meeting, political parties will, once again, demonstrate unity and resolve to effectively deal with the challenge of terrorism.

All the political parties, he said, had demonstrated that they could rise above party politics for a national cause. The parties, he hoped, would on Monday once again demonstrate unity and resolve to effectively deal with the challenge of terrorism.

The two bills were introduced in the house - the 28th Amendment Bill 2017 and Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2017. The House also adopted motions to consider these bills.

Speaking on the bills, Law Minister Zahid Hamid had said giving powers to military courts to hear the cases of hardcore criminals yielded positive results.

On the other hand, PPP had opposed both the bills.

The government had claimed that all parliamentary parties have reached a consensus on the question of reviving military courts for a period of two years, but the PPP rejected the government's claim, saying it had agreed to no such thing.

According to the agreement reached in a meeting of all parliamentary party heads, the 23rd constitution amendment bill would be laid before the National Assembly. However, in a statement issued after the meeting, the PPP said there was no agreement over the life of the military courts and the appointment of sessions and additional sessions judges. The PPP said it also rejected the government's draft proposals for the revival of the courts.

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