HRCP expresses serious concerns over military courts


The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed serious alarm over the decision to set up special courts to be headed by military officials to try terrorism cases.

In a statement issued on Friday, the HRCP dismayed that all political parties supported this unfortunate decision, although some had earlier expressed reservations. The HRCP has a number of concerns over this move.

It said the decision undermines the judiciary and shows lack of confidence in an independent and strong judicial system in the country. It must be noted that the superior judiciary has, several times in the past, ruled that military courts are unconstitutional. It feared that political dissidents could become the targets of these courts.

The HRCP believes that the need instead is to reform and strengthen the system of investigation and prosecution. Reforms should include more scientific methods of investigation, rather than torture and coercion, as well as witness protection programmes and better security for lawyers, judges and witnesses.