​Pakistan amending constitution to set up anti-terror military courts

A Pakistani paramilitary soldier stands guard outside the Supreme Court building in Islamabad (AFP Photo / Aamir Qurehsi)
Pakistan’s political leaders have decided to amend the constitution to form an alternative military court system that will try alleged terrorists and extremists following the deadly Peshawar school attack.

A unanimous agreement by the country's civilian political and military leadership to alter the constitution in order to form the alternative court system was achieved during the meeting headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

"The bill will be presented in the National Assembly on Saturday and in the Senate on Tuesday and after it is passed by the two houses of parliament, it will become part of the Constitution," Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid told the press, adding that the Army Act will also be amended.

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“The special court will try all the terrorists who have killed innocent civilians in the country's street and bazars, schools and all around, and involved in killing security personnel and attacks on military installations,” Rashid told reporters.

Prime Minister Shariff said the meeting at his house showed “a demonstration of national unity and accord” as it serves as “a bright chapter of our political movement.”

Nawaz Shariff (Reuters / Luke MacGregor)

Pakistan vowed to crack down on terrorism following a December Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that killed 150 people, including 134 children. Immediately after the attack, Sharif vowed to wipe out terrorism in the country as he announced the termination of the moratorium on the death penalty in Pakistan.

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The amendments would see military courts established for a specific period of at least two years. Besides this, the new legislative roadmap would focus on curbing the spread of terrorism by regulating seminaries, preventing hate speeches and provocative literature, and preventing terrorists’ propaganda on the media.

“The nation now wants to see the National Action Plan to deal with terrorism in action so that the country could be purged of the menace of terrorism once and for all,” Sharriff said.

AFP Photo / Aref Karim