Pakistan may be young as a country, but it has already built up a history of political instability, rising Islamic fundamentalism and a knack of using terrorists as its pawns when it needs plausible deniability. The post 9/11 War on Terror put Pakistan under some scrutiny but the country continues to be directed by the very power military and intelligence establishments. The tragic massacre of over 100 school children by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistani Taliban) in December seems to have changed a lot of the attitudes. The country has created military courts to try suspected terrorists and prescribe the death penalty where appropriate. This type of military justice should and has, human rights organizations concerned as the tragic killings are being seen as a license to persecute those whose agendas do not align with the military and intelligence interests. Matthew Green looks at Pakistan’s most recent and previous history with violence, religion and terrorism.
“The army has denied wrongdoing in Baluchistan and elsewhere—but the well-documented reports have done little to inspire confidence. Neither has the government’s insistence that the new military courts will only be used to hear clear-cut cases of terrorism, which seems to imply a suspect will have been effectively convicted even before reaching the dock. “It has really reversed the principle of being innocent until proven guilty,” said Zohra Yusuf, chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. “The military becomes jury and judge.”
Beyond ill-at-ease progressives and concerned citizens on the frontier, the prospect of military courts has stirred opposition from a less obvious corner: conservative religious political parties, which have traditionally been broadly aligned with the security establishment. Several fear wording in the amendment explicitly authorizing the courts to try cases of sectarian or religiously motivated terrorism may foreshadow moves to start hauling away students and clerics from madrassas preaching the same Deobandi sect of Islam followed by most Pakistani militants.” (Newsweek)