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Demilitarise the judicial system

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The 50 men whose death sentences were recently set aside by the Peshawar High Court would not have been alive had they been sentenced during the first two-year term of military courts when there was no right to appeal.

After militarisation of politics and politicisation of judiciary, militarisation of judiciary was the missing piece to complete the labyrinth of martial politics. The military courts that were inserted into the Constitution through the 21th Constitutional Amendment with a sunset clause of two years were later extended for another two years through the 23rd Constitutional Amendment.

It is mindboggling to think why were such extreme measures needed where there would be effective parliamentary or judicial check and balance?

So far, in four years of its existence, military courts have reportedly convicted 617 alleged militants, out of which 346 were given death sentences, while 271 were imprisoned. Only 56 of those sentenced to death have been hanged. A sizeable number of convictsreportedly include those who were arrested or disappeared about a decade ago. Many were foot soldiers or compromised facilitators hardly comparable to the likes of Ehsanullah Ehsan.

In some cases, the accused were convicted for the crimes that occurred while they were incarcerated in interment centres.

In his speech in Swat in April 2018, civil rights activist Manzoor Pashteen mentioned one such case where a man was arrested in 2010 but executed for a crime that happened in 2014. Another similar case is of a young man from my village who surrendered to security personnel........

© Daily Times