Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government on Tuesday failed to secure the approval of opposition parties on the matter of extension of military courts.
The special powers given to the army to establish tribunals to try civilians on terrorism charges had ended earlier this month on the expiry of the mandate period.
The military courts had been established through a constitutional amendment following the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar.
This was the government’s second in-camera consultation with parliamentary leaders on the issue. The meeting, held at the parliament house, was chaired by Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq. The first meeting in this regard had also concluded without a consensus.
Federal Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid briefed the meeting on the performance of the military courts till their disbandment.
Following the meeting, PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi told media that opposition parties had demanded that the government call an in-camera session of the parliament in which representatives from security institutions should brief the house.
He said that this meeting had given birth to several more questions, and added that opposition parties now seek an explanation from the government on the issue.
Opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah said that the opposition asked for an explanation on issues pertaining to the military courts.
He was of the view that military courts are an issue of the state and not of the government. Shah said the government has ensured that the opposition will be provided further details and responses in the next meeting, scheduled for January 31.
Following the meeting, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said that all the stakeholders had participated in the meeting with an open mind. He said the government would come up with more details in the next meeting. He was optimistic that the issue would be resolved in good faith.
Meanwhile, sources told a private news publication that opposition parties had also asked the government to disclose its policy towards proscribed organisations during the meeting. They also raised questions over seminary reforms and the implementation of the National Action Plan.
The absence of Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar was noted in the meeting. Following the session, Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Sherpao expressed his displeasure over Nisar’s absence and said the minister should have been present at the meeting.