Military courts stop functioning as mandated period expires: ISPR

Source:  Samaa Published in Current Affairs on Sunday, January 08, 2017

RAWALPINDI: The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Sunday announced that “the military courts have ceased to function on expiry of mandated period”.

The military courts were established through constitutional amendment following the attack on Army Public School in Peshawar.

“Special constitutional arrangements were made to effectively check the terrorists and terrorism,” ISPR said in a statement.

“Routine judicial system was under stress wherein judicial set ups and judges were also subjected to act of terrorism,” the statement read while justifying the establishment of the said courts.

“During the period of its validity, 274 cases were referred to Military Courts. Of these 161 were awarded death penalty (12 executed) and 113 were awarded imprisonment of varying duration,” it said.

“The disposal through military courts has yielded positive effects towards reduction in terrorist’s activities,” it added.

Pakistan had legalised military court trials of terror suspects for a period of two years in January 2015, soon after terrorists killed 144 people, mostly children, at an Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar.

An All Parties Conference (APC) gave the green signal for the amendments to the Pakistan Army Act to extend its jurisdiction for speedy trial of cases under specified acts and provide the constitutional cover with a sunset clause of two years from the date of enactment.

At first the 21st Amendment, as it is popularly known, was met with much debate, but over time, military courts weaved themselves in to the fabric of Pakistan’s criminal justice system.