Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Monday announced his party’s nine recommendations for an extension in the operation of military courts.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Zardari clarified that his party is “providing recommendations [for], not opposing [an extension in] military courts.”
“We want a law that defines terrorists, that will become a definition for terorrism,” he added. “Our aim is not to dishearten our armed forces.”
The PPP’s nine recommendations:
- Military courts shall be presided over by one sessions judge or additional sessions judge with a military officer.
- The sessions/additional sessions judge will be nominated by the chief justice of Pakistan.
- Period will be for one year from starting date.
- Right of judicial review by high courts under Article 199 of the Constitution.
- High court shall decide case within 60 days.
- Accused to be produced within 24 hours before the concerned court.
- Accused to be supplied with grounds of arrest within 24 hours.
- Accused shall have right to engage counsel of his choice.
- Provisions of Qanoon-i-Shahadat 1984 shall apply.
The former president said his party intended to present the points for parliamentary discussion eventually.
He added that the party had provided one year’s time to assess the law, and that the PPP intended to pressure the government to strengthen witness protection in Sindh and disburse funds to the provinces and judiciary for more effective implementation of the National Action Plan.
“I think there are weaknesses [in NAP] because the government is not serious and they have not provided them the funds,” he claimed.