Pakistan's Senate Chairman and senior Pakistan People's Party leader Mian Raza Rabbani has criticised the Nawaz Sharif government's decision to revive the military courts for another two years term. The political parties, including Pakistan People's Party, decided on Thursday to extend the military courts for another two-year term after these courts ceased to exist on January 7 at the end of two years fixed period. The courts were set up in 2015 as makeshift arrangement for speedy trial of terrorists after the Peshawar school attack in 2014 that killed about 150 people, mostly students. Rabbani while chairing yesterday's session of Senate said the country found itself back to square one after the tenure of the military courts ended in January, Dawn reported. He regretted that no headway had been made to improve the judicial system and that the present situation could have been avoided. "I am pained at what is happening," he remarked, hoping the situation would not be the same two years from now. Rabbani has been a strong opponent of military courts and was moved to tears on January 7, 2015 after voting on the 21st Constitutional Amendment to set up military courts. At the time Rabbani had said that he had voted against his own conscience. "I have been in the Senate for more than 12 years, but have never been as ashamed as I am today and I cast my vote against my conscience," he had said. Rabbbani is considered as among few cleanest politicians in Pakistan who believe in constitutionalism and supremacy of law. Responding to an observation of the Senate chairperson, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said military courts were never a priority of any political party. He said that the decision had been taken in view of the peculiar law and order situation in the country. Dar said the country was facing enormous challenges and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad had been launched after Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
There was no other choice, he added. Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan said the PPP had agreed to swallow a bitter pill on the government's assurance that the term for military courts would be two years and that a national security committee would also be formed. Meanwhile, it is expected that the parliament would pass laws next week to set up such court for another two years.