Pakistan has reinstated the military courts which were expired on 07 January 2017. The military courts were established after Peshawar massacre to punish terrorists. The military courts would try civilian suspects of terrorism. The military courts in Pakistan are not a new phenomenon, these were established in 1952, which tries military personals on any accusation; but the present military courts are a new version of the special courts. The military courts are established for swift justice; secrete prosecution process, and eradication of terrorism from the soil.
In the previous military courts two-year term, the courts convicted more than 274 people, of those 161 people were given capital punishment, and 113 people were sentenced to person. The military courts usually do not release information about the accused persons on which crimes these people were convicted, how much punishment was given, in the case of prison punishment, even names of convicted persons are not disclosed. According to the Al Jazera Network, 95% of people are sentenced on the basis of confession. On the contrary, record of Pakistani civilian courts tells that only 5% of convictions are made on confession basis.
The Military courts are against of the spirit of democracy, particularly the constitution of Pakistan. It is argued that Pakistan has been confronting extraordinary situation, and unusual condition needs exceptional measures such as the military courts. In fact, it is irrational assertion. No doubt, Pakistan has been fighting war against terrorism, but it does not mean to resort to measures which are divergent to standards of justice. The Military courts are injustice on the name of justice.
Secondly, it is maintained that military courts are established to curb terrorism and religious extremism. This hypothesis is also faulty. Those terrorists who happily explode their lives on their so-called ideology, would refrain from their operation i.e. terrorism? At least I don’t believe so.
Thirdly, it is insisted that these courts have been established for two-year term, after two years that would be expired. In the two-year course of time terrorism would diminish.
These inferences also have not any prudence. Does the ratio of terrorism incidents dwindle in previous military courts term? Reports tell different stories, i.e. in terrorism incidents intensity increased, Lal Shahbaz shrine massacre is an example in this regard. Then why the competent authorities are stubborn to revive the military courts?
Last but not least, it is upheld that the military courts are established only for two-year tenure, in that course of time the civilian authorities would reform the civilian judicial system, which is paralyzed due to incompetence, corruption and limited judges and courts networks. In previous two-year military courts term same argument was given, but the civilian authorities could not fulfil their promises. Then what is guarantee that in this time the civilians would reform the civilian criminal justice system? Ground realities tell oppositely. In 2018, new parliamentary elections are due. Secondly, the current Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Shariff is confronting mega corruption scandal. The supreme court of Pakistan is hearing the case. It is expected that the courts are going to give its verdict in few weeks. In this hustle and bustle, is the civilian authorities find time and energy to reform the paralyzed civilian justice system? It seems obvious to me that the civilian authorities would not restructure the civilian criminal system in limited span of time. Hence it is safe to conclude that on which grounds the military courts are established, would not achieve it aims; ultimately innocent people of the country would bear the brunt.
The position and opinion expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of YoungDiplomats.