The political parties in both houses of the Parliament agreed on extending the tenure of military courts for two years.
After a series of discussions and meetings, the Pakistan government and opposition both have agreed to revive the military courts for a two-year period, until January 2019.
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which had been opposing the government’s draft for the renewal of military courts, withdrew two of its main proposals on Thursday, paving the way for an across-the-board consensus.
Speaker National Assembly Pakistan Ayaz Sadiq says a national security committee comprising NA, and Senate leaders, who will form to oversee military courts.
The PPP claimed they had agreed to a “conditional extension” of military courts for two years and voluntarily withdrawal from five of the nine recommendations it had initially proposed to be included in the government’s draft bill.
With PPP’s agreement, the bill is now likely to be passed unanimously. It is pertinent to mention here that other opposition parties, led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had already agreed to the draft bill with some changes they had proposed.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Mr Ishaq Dar said all parliamentary parties had sent a message that they were on the same page on the issue of national security and terrorism.
Senator Aitzaz Ahsan who was heading a four-member PPP negotiating panel told the media, “We gave our consent to the government bill because the country is in the state of war”.
Mr Shah Mehmood Qureshi PTI vice-chairman said the spirit of the law would be that it won’t be used as a tool for political victimisation or against any specific religious group.
He also hailed the formation of the parliamentary oversight body, saying: “Now parliament will monitor national security matters in a better way. If parliament is sovereign, its decisions are binding for all”.
Ayaz Sadiq who presided over the session said, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) had reservations regarding the legal language of the bill, specifically with the phrase “terrorism in the name of religion”.
“The bill will then be approved, hopefully with consensus, on Monday in the National Assembly, after which it will be brought before the Senate on Tuesday”, he added.
Military courts had been ceased to work on Jan 7, 2017 after a sunset clause included in the legal provisions, under which the tribunals were established, expired.