Voting on military courts bills likely today JUI-F show reservations on 21st Amendment bill

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Monday deferred till Tuesday (today) the voting for approval/ rejection of the bills seeking amendments in the Constitution and Pakistan Army Act 1952 to pave the for establishment of military courts whose foremost aim is to deal strictly with the terrorists.

Earlier, it was expected that two bills which will provide constitutional cover to special courts would be approved Monday.

The 21st amendment to the Constitution and amendment to Pakistan Army Act 1952 were tabled by Law Minister Pervaiz Rashid.

However, the parliamentary party of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) expressed its reservations on granting approval to the bills today, as it marks the birth anniversary of the party’s founding leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

The 21st amendment to the Constitution would provide constitutional cover to trial of offences relating to terrorism by military courts while amendment to the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 would extend the jurisdiction of military courts to try terrorists.

The Constitution (21st Amendment) Act, 2015 shall remain in force for two years from the date of its commencement and shall cease to be part of the Constitution and shall stand repealed on the expiration of the period.

Chaudhry Nisar

Earlier, speaking from the floor of the National Assembly, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said the military courts will only deal with those who want to play the game of bloodshed and fire in the country.

He said steps were being taken to implement the National Action Plan on counter-terrorism. “We are presently fighting the war of Pakistan’s defence,” he added.

He said the entire nation and the political parties stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Pak Army.

He said the three main factors of the National Action Plan are: Federation, provinces and the Pak Army. The government, he said, will carry out its investigation before referring the cases to the military courts, whose establishment enjoys consensus of all the political parties.

Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman

The Chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman question why it was deemed unnecessary to take his party into confidence before presenting the proposed bills before the lower house.

He said he considered it his duty to put up resistance against a ‘wrong law’.

While appreciating the Interior Minister’s declaration of 90 percent Madaris (seminaries) as legitimate, the Maulana said Madaris were being targeted through the proposed constitutional amendment.