The military courts were established through constitutional amendment following the attack on Army Public School in Peshawar.
According to a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations, “special constitutional arrangements were made to effectively check the terrorists and terrorism”.
“Routine judicial system was under stress wherein judicial set ups and judges were also subjected to act of terrorism,” the statement read while justifying the establishment of the said courts.
During the period of its validity, 274 cases were referred to Military Courts, said ISPR, adding that “out of these 161 were awarded death penalty (12 executed) and 113 were awarded imprisonment of varying duration.”
“The disposal through military courts has yielded positive effects towards reduction in terrorist’s activities,” the military’s media wing claimed.
Pakistan had legalised military court trials of terror suspects for a period of two years in January 2015, soon after terrorists killed 144 people, mostly children, at an Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar.
An All Parties Conference (APC) gave the green light for the amendments to the Pakistan Army Act to extend its jurisdiction for speedy trial of cases under specified acts and provide the constitutional cover with a sunset clause of two years from the date of enactment.
At first the 21st Amendment, as it is popularly known, was met with much debate, but over time, military courts weaved themselves in to the fabric of Pakistan’s criminal justice system. -DN
THE PASHTUN TIMES