New Pakistan law makes civilians subject to court-martial for security offenses

New Pakistan law makes civilians subject to court-martial for security offenses

[JURIST] Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf Saturday promulgated an amending ordinance to the Army Act of 1952 allowing military courts to try civilians on a wide-range of charges ranging from treason to "assaulting the president." The act as amended also gives Pakistani security agencies wide powers of detention. The ordinance is to take effect immediately but be applicable to offences committed from January 2003. Observers suggest that the transfer of civilian matters to the military courts is an effort to end-run alleged problems with civilian court adjudication of terrorism cases. PTI has more. Dawn has local coverage.

The amendment was mooted [JURIST report] by the government at the beginning of November before Pakistan came under emergency rule but was specifically promulgated Saturday under the government's emergency powers. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan [advocacy website] has objected to the ordinance, saying that Pakistan intelligence agencies should not have any additional powers and that the amendment could lead to the creation of summary military courts, which the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] has already banned. ANI has more.