People are discussing about military courts, yet I have hardly seen anyone talking about the future of military courts in Pakistan.
US military courts that were established after 9/11 attacks (2001), can be taken as case study to foresee the possible challenges of Pakistan’s military courts and what can be suggestions in order to coop those possible challenges.
The foremost problem military courts can face is of resistance from civilian courts. The judges of the honourable judiciary think their power with respect to their judicial decisions is being challenged by military courts and the new military judges in those courts. They think current judicial setup will be replaced by military courts. Lawyers have protested against establishment of military courts and 21st amendment. This apprehension of lawyer’s community need to be address wisely. There is need to create awareness that military courts will deal only hard core terrorists.
Another challenge in future can be with respect to selective justice. There can be chance of selective case selection because it is possible that some cases would be dropped by provinces due to political influence.
Military courts are being challenged in Supreme Court of Pakistan already. Unlike US, the ruling is in favour of military courts as it has got immunity from Parliament through 21st amendment.
Moreover, military courts might need to be extended for more than two years because it is not necessary that problem of terrorism in Pakistan would be solved by 2017. Further amendment in the constitution would be required to approve the extension of military courts.
The first suggestion to coup the challenge is that we should create awareness, not only among masses but also among lawyer’s community (though social, print and electronic media), that military courts are for only 2 years; civil courts can never replaced by military courts.
Moreover, there is need an eye on provincial tribunals and interior ministries so that all possible terrorism cases should be tried in military courts as part of National Action Plan. The authorities should do legal home work if military courts would be needed to extend after 2017.