In a Nov 9 entry in my blog regarding amendments to Pakistan Army Act 1952 (http://riseofpakistan.blogspot.com/2007/11/new-ammendment-to-pakistani-army-act.html), I mentioned that it looks like the ground work for Summary Military Courts. The news out now predicts the same.
It has been a common practice in past to enforce SMC's during Martial Laws, it brings a swift justice mechanism, according to wishes of the government. Supposedly in an SMC, unlike civilian courts, the accuser is by default considered guilty and he has to prove himself innocent. The accuser is not given "benefit of the doubt" and charged with the crime in such a condition.
The military act is amended as a Presidential Act, which means it has a temporary status in constitution (yes the one which is held in abeyance now, for the fourth time by a Chief of Army Staff in Pakistan).
I am concerned primarily about two things:
1. In future, if the elections are not fair or the King's Party(PML-Q) comes to power, they might get it approved on a simple majiority and make it a part of constitution (yes we actually have one, the 1973 constitution, remember???? ).
2. For the time being they are setup in disturbed areas of SWAT & FATA. FATAhas no judicial system in place, a condition for their inclusion in Pakistan in 1947, Miliary Courts can provide an alternative option for swiftly tucking away the "TERRORISTS". But who is going to stop the General from enforcing them in major cities and settled part of our country? Just like Gen. Ayub or Gen. Zia did?
I fear the day when they will start to operate all over the country, it will be big blow to already justice deprived nation of Pakistan.