PPP senators oppose military courts

ISLAMABAD – It looks that consensus developed among the parliamentary parties after Peshawar carnage has started fading, as PPP in the Upper House of the Parliament Tuesday for the second consecutive day opposed the establishment of military courts and said that army should not be made controversial with this decision.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) also demanded that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself should today (Wednesday) conclude the ongoing debate on Peshawar carnage in the house what its lawmakers said that neither Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan nor Prime Minister Sharif had come for a single time after December 16 school attack incident that was being debated in the house. They said that with such actions, the government was not looking serious to end terrorism in the country.
The opposition lawmakers showed their suspicions over the implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) on Counterterrorism and said that the actions of the government were not looking visible in this connection, as it was busy only forming committees. They said that the government should lead the whole terrorism operations and the army should not be made controversial through the formation of military courts.
PPP Senator Saeed Ghani taking part in the debate on terrorist attack on school in Peshawar remarked that an atmosphere was needed to be created against terrorism. In his emotional speech, he deplored that the government had failed to create such an atmosphere. He came down hard on the government saying it did not look serious to handle the menace of terrorism. He opposed the establishment of military courts and said, “I personally think the decision to establish military courts was not correct though the leadership of my party has supported it.” He quoted remarks of Senator Barrister Farogh Naseem that only terrorists of banned organisations would be tried in military courts and questioned who would decide about this link. He said that military court alone could not eradicate terrorism and added that the army should not be made controversial. “If army becomes controversial, how it would chase the terrorists,” he said. He said that Pakistan Army was being seen with suspicions after the announcement of military courts and objections were being raised on such courts.
Khalida Perveen of PPP said that military courts were not at all exact treatment of terrorism, saying suicide bombers could not be threatened with such measures. She proposed to empower National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and sought why Protection of Pakistan Act was not being used to end terrorism. “The implementation is necessary at all levels,” she added. She said that civilian institutions should do their work instead of military courts and the surviving children of Army Public School should be rehabilitated under a programme.
Robina Khalid of PPP said that the incident was a collective failure. “The government is late in implementing the decisions made soon after December 16 incident and now sympathisers (of terrorists) could be heard with dissident voices,” she said. She stressed that the government should at least ban unregistered SIMs, being used in terrorism incidents, and remarked in a humorous way what consensus needed for this purpose.
PPP legislator Mukhtair Ahmed Damrah also opposed military courts and said when Parliament, provincial assemblies and courts were there, then what was the necessity of military courts. “These were the military courts that hanged Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” he said. “Don’t make the army controversial if your are not serious to solve the issue,” he asked the government. He said that civil courts should be reactivated and the government would have to lead this war.
He focused his speech on the past events and said that at least three parties were not allowed to participate in election campaign during 2013 general polls by terrorist organisations. He criticised that the government should fight its own war and did not use the shoulders of other institutions for this purpose. He said the PML-N had earlier refused the presence of Punjabi Taliban in the past but later it revealed that it had been monitoring different terrorism operations.
“The government is lacking its will to end terrorism,” he said, adding that the terrorists were being given time to move from one place to another through late actions of the government.
Senator Sardar Ali Khan said that US imposed war on terror on Pakistan and efforts were being made to target nuclear capability. The government should give its policy for return of Afghan refugees. “The judiciary and the executive should do its work and there is no need of military courts,” he said.
Veteran PPP lawmaker Taj Haider said that it was unfair to say terrorists to come in his province and target others.
Earlier, Mian Raza Rabbani on a point of order said that the issue was so serious but neither Prime Minister nor Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan came in the House even for a single time after Peshawar incident. He demanded that PM should come and conclude the debate.
“Parliament is your strength if war on terror has to be taken to its logical end, it would have to be done through parliament,” he said. He also proposed for the formation of parliamentary oversight committee to see whether Nation Action Plan (NAP) was being implemented.
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan said, “On one hand, the government is getting us forced to take sip of poison of military courts and on the other side it is not looking serious to implement consensus decisions.” He criticised the government saying that the PM had made 17 committees to oversee the implementation of NAP and surprisingly out of these interior minister was heading half of these committees. “We are not ready to hear Stat Minister for Interior Baleegur Rehman during the winding up debate of Peshawar incident,” he said. “The PM should come to wind up the debate and if he did not come then controversy would generate and at last interior minister should come to conclude the debate today,” he stressed. He said that the government was not looking serious to take action on 20 points of NAP but only busy forming committees. “NAP has been found napping,” he said.

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