Govt not to set up military courts in AJK, GB
“We were today informed that the government has no intention of extending 21st Amendment in the Constitution to AJK and GB,” said Chairman of National Assembly’s Special Committee on Kashmir Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday after chairing an in-camera session of the committee.
The Kashmir committee was briefed by Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Birjees Tahir.
The meeting had been convened to discuss escalation in tensions with India along the Line of Control and Working Boundary and preparations for Kashmir Day observance on Feb 5.
“Media reports about the planned move to establish military courts in AJK and GB had created concerns,” said Mr Rehman who initially agreed to support military courts in the country at the All Parties Conference, but later reneged on his decision.
The Prime Minister’s Office announced on Jan 13that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while chairing a meeting on the implementation status of National Action Plan for fighting terrorism and extremism, had “approved that Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK Councils would also adopt the 21st Amendment in the Constitution as well as amendment in the Army Act to facilitate formation of military courts in those areas”.
Mr Rehman did not say why the government changed its mind. It is, however, believed that it could possibly be due to the special constitutional status of the two regions.
The parliament in the first week of January adopted the 21st Amendment Bill and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2015 unanimously to set up constitutionally protected military courts for two years for trying civilian terrorism suspects.
The establishment of military courts is facing legal challenges, while the bureaucracy has been slow to operationalise the special tribunals.
The military had earlier announced setting up of nine courts in the first phase.