ISLAMABAD: (APP) Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid on Friday introduced to constitutional amendment bills - (Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill-2017 and Pakistan Army Amendment Bill-2017 in the National Assembly .
The first bill (Twenty-Eight Amendment) Bill 2917 is aimed at restoration of military courts, while the second one - Pakistan Army Amendment Bill-2017 is aimed at enabling trial of cases related to terrorism under the Pakistan Army Act 1952.
Speaking on the Bills, Zahid Hamid stated that in 2015, the Parliament had passed two Bills including Twenty-first (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and "The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2015 giving powers to Military Courts to hear the cases of hardcore criminals.
He said these steps yielded positive results.
He said the country was still passing through extraordinary circumstances and facing several challenges. Therefore, it has become necessary that these measures should continue, he added.
The minister stated that under these Bills, the steps taken in 2015 would get extension.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman expressed some reservations on the Bills stating that his party could not support these in the current format.
He said the entire nation was united against the menace of terrorism. "Terrorism is an evil. We are all united against it. We are with the country, it's Parliament and Constitution and the democracy. But these bills should be reviewed," he added.
He was of the view that the name of a religious sect in the Bill was not appropriate hence it needed to be reviewed. He said law should not be discriminatory rather it should be equal for all.
He said he had stated at the outset that there were elements in this country, who were holding arms against the State but they did not belong to any religious sect.
As far as seminaries were concerned, he stated they had been functioning in the sub-continent for the past one and a half century. He said the seminaries that were unregistered so far, should be asked to get themselves registered.
Dr. Azra Fazal of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian was also of view that the laws seemed discriminatory. She feared that if passed in current shape, they might become a tool for political persecution, hence her party had reservations.
She said that "we would have to strengthen judiciary and other civil institutions."
Sheikh Salahuddin of MQM while seconding Azra Fazal, said that there was need to strengthen civil institutions.
He said lawmakers' objections should be incorporated in the Bills.
Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said that it would be his effort that the reservations of lawmakers are properly addressed.
He said there was a need to create consensus on the legislation stating that all the parties would have to sit together again.
Earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's lawmakers walked out of the session on what they alleged that PML-N's Mian Javed Latif's Thursday's speech in the National Assembly was not appropriate.
Later, the House was adjourned to meet again on Monday at 4:00 PM.