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President gives approval for military courts’ extension

ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday gave the permission to resume the military courts for next two years.

The president signed 23rd Amendment bill and Inquiry Commission bill have been signed today and now they have become Acts. Both houses of the parliament had already passed the bill granting extension to military courts.

As per the new amendment, military courts would be functional for a next two years.

Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act 2017 was presented by the government, after the Panamagate controversy during the last year.

According to the President House spokesman, the approval of the military courts resumed was given on Thursday night.

Earlier in 2015 both houses of parliament had passed the 21st amendment bill to establish military courts. The action was taken after the attack at Army Public School in Peshawar, which killed over 142 teachers and students.

The 21st amendment in the constitution had to be expired on January 7, 2017. 12 military courts were set up in the country to prosecute the terror cases. The approval for the resume of courts have extended the duration for a further two years.

The 28th Amendment Bill was passed by the lower house when 255 NA members voted in favor of it while only four voted against it. The senate also passed the bill, now act, with the two-third majority.

Four new clauses are included in the amendment bill, which are exercised of the law of evidence. Accused will also have right to hire a lawyer of his/her own choice. As per the bill, suspects will be present before the military courts within 24 hours of their arrest and would be informed about the charges against them.

The bill has been passed to uproot the menace of terrorism and militancy. The step was taken to ensure the fast hearing of terrorism cases, after two years cases of military courts will be transferred to anti-terrorism courts.