Pakistan had legalized military court trials of terror suspects for a period of two years in January 2015, soon after terrorists killed 144 people, mostly children, at Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar. A total of 274 cases were referred to military courts from January 2015 - 9th January 2017. So far, 161 terrorists were awarded death penalty (12 executed). 113 terrorists were awarded imprisonment of varying duration during the period. The amendment allows civilians ‘claiming [to] or [who] are known to belong to any terrorist group or organization using the name of religion or sect’ to be tried by the military courts provided their cases are referred by the federal government. The establishment of military courts has helped in bringing the terrorist incidents to minimal level. The courts need to root out terrorism. Speedy trials of terrorists are ensured through Military courts. Parliamentary parties need to evolve consensus on the issue of Military courts for a secure and peaceful Pakistan. Two-thirds majority is needed to legislate for formation of Military courts.

Host: Dr. Shoaib

Analysts on Phone:

Chaudhary Mehmood Bashir Virk- Chairman, Standing Committee on Law and Justice

All political parties should display wisdom. Just to disgrace the government, military courts cannot be rejected. The accused is given fair chance for his defence in military courts. After military courts establishment and performance, terrorist incidents have decreased to a considerable level. The political parties should patiently their opinions on any matter.

Maiza Hameed- MNA, PML-N

When operation Zarb-e-Azb was initiated, Prime Minster consulted all political parties. The Prime Minister is a democratic person and he is consulting all stakeholders over military courts’ issue as well. Military courts have played a significant role in decreasing terrorist activities. After a thorough consultation, Prime Minister will announce his decision about extension of military courts.

Justice Retd. Iftekhar Ahmed Cheema- MNA, PML-N

Normally, military courts are established in extra-ordinary circumstances. The terrorists used to get released from civilian courts. They used to threaten judges even in court premises. Finally, government had to establish military courts to bring them to justice. Military courts are not closed like civilian courts after every second day. Military courts have performed its functions quite efficiently. Keeping in mind their benefits, military courts are established in Pakistan.

Air Marshal Retd. Masood Akhtar- Defence Expert

Military courts will help eradicating menace of terrorism from the country. We are doing nothing to protect judges and lawyers. Military courts will have to be brought back as political system is not functioning well. Wherever there is insurgency, military courts are necessary. We have controlled terrorism but it is yet to be eradicated completely. Military courts are necessary in this regard.

Dr. Farooq Hasnaat- IR Expert

Normally, there is a complete system with operating judiciary in any country. The military courts are established in exceptional circumstances. The civilian courts were not functioning properly in Pakistan and no one was ready to give evidence against terrorists. The two years tenure of military courts has lapsed. Now, all political parties should sit together to discuss extension of military courts.

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