Amended Army law reflects martial law: Asma Jahangir

November 14th, 2007 - 10:30 am ICT by admin  

Jehangir, who is under house arrest, said the amendments grossly violate human rights and the 1973 Constitution.

Granting military courts the authority to try offences from murder to libel has exposed the Pakistan Government’s lack of confidence in its selected Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) judges, she said in a press statement.

In order to settle scores with lawyers, human rights activists and defiant journalists, the law has been given effect from January 2003, said Asma, adding, “This also allows the government to legitimise its illegal acts of disappearances carried out by the intelligence agencies with impunity.”

Commenting on Attorney General Malik Qayyum’s statement that a similar Army Act also existed in the UK and the US, she said, “Two wrongs can never make one right.”

She said these countries had an independent judiciary, which had also struck down provisions of the United States’ Patriot Act.

“The military courts in the UK or the US do not try their own citizens,” she said, adding that journalists, lawyers and activists in the UK or the US were not charged for terrorism or treason, and the judges of the superior courts are not kept under house arrest in both countries.

She said the government’s onslaught on the courts was not because they were obstructing the trial of terrorists, but because they had dared to provide relief in some cases.

She said that Musharraf wanted absolute power and would not tolerate any dissent. He would continue to use “the terrorist card” to keep the international community at bay, she added. (ANI)

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