Military Courts Redux (Editorial)


With numerous highs and lows for Pakistan, the year 2014 has passed. But, the wounds it has left on our hearts with Peshawar massacre won’t heal soon. The dark clouds of terrorism have been hovering over our heads for more than 13 years now. Terrorists have been on a killing spree but no serious efforts by our political leadership to stop them have been witnessed because it kept wavering between ‘to talk’ or ‘to fight’. Pakistan Army has been fighting these monsters with full vigour, but a political backing to their fight was lacking. We have already paid huge costs of this laxity and lethargy. We cannot afford anymore.

But, as they say it’s better late than never, Pakistan is now united in this fight against terrorists. The blood of innocent children has done what nothing could do in the entire history of Pakistan. The country’s political leadership is now in complete unison with the military, and a strong resolve to exterminate the terrorist and cleanse our sacred soil from these wicked and bestial elements is more than evident.

With the dawn of the year 2015, Pakistan has entered into the most crucial phase of its history. We have reached a point where we are in a ‘now or never situation’. This is an extraordinary situation which demands requisite measures. The parliament has acknowledged this urgency through the 21st Amendment to the Constitution — now a part of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 after receiving presidential assent on 7th of January 2015 — which says that “extraordinary situation and circumstances exist which demand special measures”.

These special measures include the establishment of military courts so that the speedy trials in cases related to terrorism are carried out. Although this initiative of the government has raised a slew of questions; civil society activists, lawyers and honourable judges of the superior courts have expressed their reservations on it, yet, isn’t it true that the rate of convictions in terrorism cases has been miserably low?

Candidly, keeping in view the gravity of the challenges posed by the terrorists, and, of course, the low ratio of convictions in terrorism cases over the years, it’s a right step and probably a much needed one.

Pakistan Army has always been at the forefront when it comes to salvaging the nation; may it be the natural calamities or internal and external threats. Our brave soldiers will surely steer Pakistan out of the terrorism quagmire too.

Although a couple of senior Supreme Court judges have put the blame entirely on the government and the prosecutors — and perhaps rightly so — yet no one could deny that no serious efforts either by government or by judiciary has been made to find out the causes of a low conviction rate of mere five to ten percent. If the prosecution is flawed, then strict actions must be taken against the prosecutors. The Supreme Court should have made some sort of fact finding commission in order to find out the real culprits behind this fiasco, and then bringing them to justice because in a society where the criminals don’t get punishments befitting to their crimes, peace and stability remain a distant dream. So, a serious introspection is direly needed in our political as well as judicial camps.

Pak Army is now in the driving seat in this decisive phase of war against terrorism. Since the establishment of military courts means speedy trials and harsh punishment of the guilty, it has created a sense fear in the hearts of terrorists and their sponsors. It is evident from the fact that the crimes, especially terrorism incidents, have decreased significantly since the announcement.

At this critical moment in our history, we need to fully support our brave soldiers as they are on a mission where failure cannot be an option. We have to win this war and we will Insha’Allah!

Let’s pray for the success of our army in this all-out fight for a safer and securer Pakistan.

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