Pakistan presents bills to set up military courts

  • Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times, Islamabad
  • Updated: Jan 03, 2015 23:23 IST

Two major bills seeking constitutional amendments for the establishment of military courts in Pakistan were tabled in the coutnry’s parliament on Saturday amidst criticism.

The Constitutional Amendment Bill and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2015 were presented by law minister Pervaiz Rashid in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The bills will allow for the establishment of military courts that will try terrorism suspects, a move that has been criticised by the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and a number of other civil liberty platforms.

The bills were moved following consensus of all parliamentary parties on the creation of military courts for the trial of terrorists.

For a constitutional amendment, a two-third majority is required both in the Senate and the National Assembly, while for an amendment in an act such as the Army Act 1952, a simple majority is required in both of the houses of the parliament.

It is expected that the bill will be passed into law by Wednesday after the country’s upper house passes the bill and the president signs it.
Critics say that the bills allow for the military to oversee the country’s judicial system.

“This has set a very bad precedent,” says Khurram Hussain, a journalist associated with the Dawn newspaper.

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