Senate passes Army Act, delays military courts’ revival

Islamabad: The Upper House of the parliament on Wednesday passed the Pakistan Army (amendment) Bill 2017 however it postponed voting on the revival of military courts.

Law Minsiter Zahid Hamid tabled the bill and said in January 2015 the Pakistan Army Act 2015, along with 21st Constitution amendment, was passed to trial hardcore terrorists in military courts.

He said that terrorism remained threat to the security and integrity of the country and stated the military courts revival imperative to eliminate terrorism earlier.

Hamid told that four points have been added in the Army Act 2017.

JUIF opposed the bill stating that the terrorism should not be related with any religion, group or sect. However, the objection was rejected by the majority of senators.

Due to the absence and non-serious of attitude of some members, voting on the 28th Amendment Bill 2017-aimed to revival the military courts- postponed until next week.

To pass the bill, at least 69 votes were needed which makes the two-third majority, however only 67 members were present.

The military courts revival bill has already passed by the national assembly, the bill recommends restoration of military courts for the period of two years aimed to hear terrorism cases immediately.

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