Pakistan Allows Military Trials in Terrorism Cases

Pakistan Allows Military Trials in Terrorism CasesPakistan Allows Military Trials in Terrorism Cases

Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday to allow military trials for terror suspects, the latest in the government’s intensified campaign against terrorism in the wake of last year’s Taliban attack on a school that killed nearly 150 people, almost all of them children.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif welcomed the decision, which is seen as a major victory for his government, but critics and rights activists say it goes against the constitution and civil rights, AP reported.

“The ruling gives the green light for army courts to try civilians suspected in terrorism cases,” said Zafrullah Khan, the government’s legal adviser. It followed several petitions that challenged a decision by parliament earlier this year to allow military courts to prosecute terror suspects over the next two years.

Pakistan has been fighting militancy for over a decade but authorities took extraordinary measures after the Peshawar school attack, including lifting a moratorium on executions, in place since 2008.

Since the lifting of the moratorium, nearly 200 convicts on death row have been hanged in Pakistan. Militants, too, have been executed among that number, but a majority of them were people convicted of other crimes.