As of now, it seems quite clear that Army Act Amendment has been passed and Military courts are going to setup throughout the country. With the help of establishment driven media, government has successfully rallied people to accept this extreme measure which is, in a number of ways, will do more harm than good. What makes this bill more controversial for me is the list of ifs and buts connected to this bill. I totally oppose this bill and following are my reasons.
- If you are a ‘supari-killer’, Leave TTP and Join Any Political Party; you will be safe!
The first and foremost problem with this amendment is the hard line drawn between religious terrorists and non-religious terrorists. I am Karachi-ite and my city has been subjected to kidnappings, torture, killings, extortion and all types of street crimes way before the idea of Taliban was not even in the minds of CIA. Situation is so bad that less than 10 killings a day is taken as a routine. As long as some high profile person is not targeted, killings in Karachi don’t even make a headline. DG Rangers mentioned before that every political party has got an armed wing which in involved in unrest in the city. With this bill, these armed wings can’t be prosecuted as they can’t be defined as ‘terrorists’. For example, execution of Saulat Mirza has been postponed because he comes from a political party. So, it means, all killers can contact to political parties to continue casting their spell of terror; they will be safe as long as they do it without religious background.
- What about co-existence?
Whatever liberal/secular values you hold, you can’t deny the fact that Islamists constitute a big faction of our society. At this crucial time when we should look for co-existence rather than ‘my way or high way’ approach and try to build more harmony in society, government passes a law which will push Islamists to think the other way around. It’s also strange to see how liberals are cherishing this amendment which is, in actual, against the very basics of liberal and secular beliefs as it discriminate the criminals on the basis of religious background. If my brother is sentenced to death because he committed a crime in the name of religion, and your brother is allowed to roam free after committing the same sin in the name of ethnic background; it will definitely push me to think about being marginalized and once I feel that way, I will try to impose myself on society with more aggression and vigor.
- Democracy will be strengthened by military courts. (Kill me please ..)
For those who really understand Democracy in its true meaning, this is the most interesting part. Whenever masses ask from political leaders regarding the time frame to enjoy some fruits of democracy, they are lectured with the rhetoric of ‘Democracy needs time’. It has been mentioned, time and again, that Pakistan will move to betterment if we let Democracy for uncountable number of years. Even JI, which didn’t cast a vote in 21st amendment, was leading IK-Govt. negotiations in the name of protection of Democracy. So as per government’s narrative about leading Pakistan towards ‘True Democracy’ and asking masses to be patient regarding economic and socio-political affairs, where does this amendment fit in? What about BB’s sacrifice for Democracy that PPP is always cashing in? What about all that JI romance with Democracy during IK’s protests? Icing on the cake was statement of Asim Bajwa, DG ISPR, mentioning that formation of military courts will strengthen Democracy
- If military courts are so effective, why not try corrupt elite there?
Liberals and Rightists may not even share a single opinion about any issue except corruption of ruling elite. It is a well known fact by every faction of society that military and civil leadership of Pakistan has been involved in massive scale of corruption, looting resources of this country on a gigantic scale. The rationale propagated by govt. behind the establishment of Army Courts is very slow proceedings of cases in conventional courts and eviction of most of the criminals. I am more than 100% sure that this rationale also applies to those corruption cases which are pending not for years, but decades in civil courts. If military courts are so effective in providing ‘justice’, why don’t members of ruling elite present themselves voluntarily to these courts and get ‘justice’? Those who got some know-how about state affairs can understand how deadly an inefficient and corrupt govt. officer can be. Yes, terrorists are killing people but those who are looting in govt. jobs are also killing people on a much bigger scale then terrorists of TTP can achieve. Death of more 300+ kids in Thar is just an example of it. Why responsible officers for these killings can’t be tried in these ‘fast track justice courts?
I believe that establishment of these courts will push Pakistan toward a police-state. Worse than that, this police-state will be targeting only one faction of society which will result in more tension and rift in the country. If we keep on moving this way, you won’t find Al-Sisi Egypt that far away.
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