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PPP agrees to two-year extension of Pak military courts

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) conceded its support to reinstating military courts on Thursday, saying it would now support a two-year reinstatement.

The PPP had earlier said they would only agree to a one-year extension. The party also announced nine recommendations regarding military courts and how they should be handled moving forward, according to the Dawn.

In the second session of parliamentary discussions on the issue, held today, the PPP sought to push these recommendations, but an agreement could be reached on only two of the nine points raised before the session concluded.

The points agreed to include the recommendation that the provisions of the Qanoon-i-Shahadat, 1984 (Law of Evidence) apply to military courts and that the accused be granted the right to appeal.

Military courts had been disbanded this year in JAnuary after a sunset clause included in the legal provisions under which the tribunals were established, expired.

Pakistan had legalised military court trials of terror suspects for a period of two years in January 2015 – soon after the terror attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School in Dec 2014, in which 144 people, most of them children, were killed by Taliban militants.

These courts were given a two-year constitutional cover that ended in January. The controversial special powers empower military courts to try civilian terror suspects.

Military courts do not grant convicts the essential components of a fair and free trial, as they lack in transparency and do not allow convicts the option to appeal to civilian courts. (ANI)