Pakistan assembly passes military courts’ extension bill

Islamabad: The Pakistan National Assembly on Tuesday passed a crucial bill enabling the extension of military courts in the country for another two years.

The Constitution (28th Amendment) bill and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) were tabled in the lower house of parliament on Monday amid opposition from two parliamentarians, Mehmood Khan Achakzai and Jamshed Dasti, the News International reported.

Both the amendments were passed with two-thirds majority after months of discussions between the government and opposition parties.

Pakistan had established the special military courts in order to expedite its war against extremism and terrorism, which expired earlier this year.

According to the 21st amendment, under which the military courts were created in 2015 for two years, only the cases of those could be referred to these courts for trial who were involved in terrorism activities while using the name of “religion” or “sect”.

Now, besides those belonging to “any terrorist group or organisation misusing the name of religion or a sect”, those committing “grave and violent act of terrorism against the state” have also been added. This addition will cover all terrorists, said the report.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also present in the House when the bill was presented.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the decision has been taken because the country is facing extraordinary challenges and the step will help to restore peace.