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People involved in killing of security personnel and innocent people to be sentenced by the special trial courts: Nawaz

31 December, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a high-level meeting on Tuesday 30 December 2014 to review progress on the implementation of the National Action Plan for countering terrorism in the country.

During the meeting, PM Nawaz said those involved in the killing of security personnel and innocent people would be sentenced by the special trial courts. He added that the special courts were part of the anti-terrorism national action plan, and measures were required to tackle extraordinary problems. Nawaz stressed the need for improving coordination between the federal and provincial governments and law enforcing agencies to deal with the problem of terrorist financing. He said the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) should be pro-active in countering terrorism and clearly state the help it requires in undertaking its official obligations.

PM Nawaz further said all institutions would have to conduct a thorough examination before terrorism cases were sent to military tribunals. The anti-terrorism national action plan expressed the nation's solidarity and was a unanimous decision. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed, army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Gen Rizwan Akhter, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Major Gen Amir Riaz and Federal Law Secretary Barrister Zafarullah attended the meeting.

PM Nawaz expressed confidence over various measures adopted for countering terrorism, and hoped that terrorism would be eliminated from Pakistan through the collective resolve of the government and citizens. The premier said the government will refer cases of hardcore terrorists, who are responsible for mass murders of innocent civilians, kids and young soldiers, to special military courts. “Special courts are part of the national action plan and are meant to provide an extraordinary solution for an extraordinary problem. All institutions would have to carefully scrutinize cases to be sent for prosecution in the special military tribunals,” said the PM.

He said the formation of a unified action plan was a manifestation of national consensus on the issue of terrorism, adding that the government would ensure its swift implementation. Earlier, PM Nawaz said the government was providing conducive environment for local and foreign investors. Talking to a delegation led by Motorola Solutions Senior Vice President Mohammad Akhtar, he said priority of the government was to improve security situation across the country for which important steps were being taken. The senior vice president briefed the prime minister about the Motorola security system. The delegation also extended condolences over the tragic Peshawar incident.

Prime Minister Nawaz expressed confidence over various measures adopted for countering terrorism, and hoped that terrorism would be eliminated from Pakistan through the collective resolve of the government and citizens.

It is noteworthy that the Senate had on Monday strongly opposed formation of military courts and warned that formation of such courts for speedy trial of terrorists and constitutional amendment for this purpose will hit basic structure of constitution. Taking part in a debate on the TTP terrorist attack on schoolchildren, PPP's Senator Raza Rabbani blamed successive governments for terrorism, especially the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), saying it did not release required funds to the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and did not implement the National Internal Security Policy. “The collective sharing of intelligence which was the backbone of the so-called policy has not materialized. NACTA, which was supposed to be the key body in the policy lies ineffective,” he lamented.

Rabbani said that executive has been separated from the judiciary and courts as defined in constitution under articles 175, 203, 212 and 225, adding armed forces have been dealt with under articles 243, 244 and 245 of the constitution. “Does it make sense to bypass altogether a well developed, civilian lead judicial system simply because that systems implementation may be flawed...the judges cannot convict or keep in detention terrorist if the administration does not provide the necessary evidence before them,” he added. He said the normal courts can deal with the cases of terrorism.

The military courts are governed by the Army Act, 1952, the senator said, adding that these courts deal with scheduled offences as mentioned in the Act. He said that the last time such courts were established was under the PML-N government in 1998 through an ordinance, allowing the establishment of military courts to try civilians for heinous crimes in Sindh. However, he said these courts were declared unconstitutional and struck down by the Supreme Court on February 17, 1999 and their cases were transferred to anti-terrorism courts (ATCs).

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