ISLAMABAD–A petition challenging the establishment of military courts in the country was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, media reported.
The petition stated that the amendment made in the Constitution to establish military courts in the country is against its basic structure.
The amendments for the empowerment of military courts to try civilian terror suspects were passed by the Parliament on Tuesday and these were signed by President Mamnoon Hussain into law today.
The new laws were introduced as part of the government’s 20-point National Action Plan against terrorism approved by a meeting of politicians Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif convened last week.
The latest amendment to the constitution, whose objective of giving a constitutional cover to the military courts for trying civilians to undo a bar ordered by the Supreme Court 15 years ago, was the first passed by the present parliament – following three by the previous one, including the landmark 18th Amendment that gave more democracy and provincial autonomy.
Tuesday’s amendment, brought at the behest of the military in reaction to the Dec 16 terrorist attack on an army public school in Peshawar that killed 149 students and staff, has revived memories of perceived excesses of military courts set up by army rulers and was seen by critics as a step backwards that could undermine parliament, democracy and judiciary.
Consider that where previous constitutional amendments during civilian dispensations were designed to clear the mess left behind by military dictators, this time it is the civilians who will be muddying the document to empower the army further. The 21st constitutional amendment will stand as a monument to the betrayal of the civilian, democratic cause.