PPP agrees to 2-year extension to military courts

Indo Asian News Service

Islamabad, March 9 (IANS) Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) conceded ground on military courts on Thursday, saying it would now support a two-year extension for the controversial judicial system.

The PPP had earlier said it would only agree to a one-year extension. The party also announced nine recommendations regarding military courts and how they should be handled moving forward, Dawn news reported.

In the second session of parliamentary discussions on the issue on Thursday, the PPP sought to push these recommendations, but an agreement could be reached on only two of the nine points raised before the session concluded.

The points agreed to include the recommendation that the provisions of the Qanoon-i-Shahadat, 1984, (Law of Evidence) apply to military courts and that the accused be granted the right to appeal.

Military courts had been disbanded this year on January 7 after the expiry of a sunset clause included in the legal provisions under which the tribunals were established.

Though a revival of the controversial system seems closer now than before, the government and the opposition have struggled to reach a consensus on the issue despite frequent discussions.

The primary concern of critics is the mystery surrounding military court trials: No one knows who the convicts are, what charges have been brought against them, or what the accused's defence is against the allegations levelled.