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Political parties agreed on Military courts

01 March, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary leaders on Tuesday agreed on revival of military courts for two years. The understanding came during a meeting of parliamentary leaders held under National Assembly (NA) Speaker Ayaz Sadiq in Parliament House. The meeting was attended by leaders of different political parties.

Talking to newsmen after the meeting, Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar said all the parties, except the Pakistan People's Party, have agreed on extension of military courts for two years instead of three years.

He held that the process would require amendments in the constitution and the relevant law and therefore, sessions of both the National Assembly and the Senate are being convened.

The Senate would meet on Friday and the National Assembly on Monday. A draft bill be presented therein and reservations of all the political parties will be removed. If some good proposal comes, the government will consider it because murder of one man is murder of the whole humanity. Terrorism has no relevance with Islam nor can the Muslims be terrorists. Terrorism is used only to create chaos.

He said the decision has been taken with consensus. He hoped that the PPP, which has convened a meeting of political parties on Saturday, would also take a decision as per requirements of the country.

The minister thanked all political parties for extending their cooperation on the issue of revival of military courts.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi said all political parties, including the PPP, are convinced that the country is passing through extraordinary circumstances and military courts are need of the hour.

He said there was no disagreement on revival of military courts in view of the given situation but parties only wanted a mechanism to ensure that there is no need for further extension in future.

Qureshi said a decision has been taken to constitute a Parliamentary Oversight Committee which would see to it that the government sticks to the timelines envisaged in the amendment. The committee would meet once every two months.

"The parties have agreed that the conditions [in the country] are still unusual. Circumstances threatening Pakistan's integrity are still prevalent. We have all agreed on this and there is a need for the extension."

He said that after the two years are over, however, cases pending in military courts would be transferred back to anti-terrorism courts.

Sahibzada Tariqullah of Jamaat-e-Islami said terrorists should not be linked with the religion. He said terrorists should be dealt with an iron hand.

Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour of ANP and Aftab Khan Sherpao of Qaumi Watan Party said all parties are determined to address the issue of terrorism. Sherpao stressed the need for joint efforts to eradicate terrorism. Leader of MQM-Pakistan Dr Farooq Sattar said that the government should take all political parties into confidence on launching of the operation. He said his party can not announce full support to the military courts until the prime minister does not assures on the issue of national importance.

Meanwhile, Ishaq Dar telephoned Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah and PPP leader Naveed Qamar. Dar apprises them about the proceedings of the meeting of parliamentary leaders. The minister said that in view of the All Parties Conference (APC) called by the PPP on March 4, the session of the National Assembly is being called on March 6.

Dar hoped that the PPP will support the decision after their conference, and that the decision will be agreed on in a parliamentary session scheduled for March 6.

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