With the approval of military courts by the country’s apex court yesterday, Pakistan was openly given over to military dictatorship.
The country’s ruling political party, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) has long been known as a military-supported, pro-Islamist fundamentalism party. The party head and now ruling Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif developed his political career owing to the country’s powerful military support until 1999 when a military dictator got cross with him and overthrew his government.
But since taking the office back in 2013 – in general elections that were widely decried as rigged – Mr. Sharif started acting more loyal to the military than ever. After the brutal massacre of children in a school in Peshawar – and the school was run by the military itself – the government at once pushed for establishing military courts. Civilian courts were called too incompetent to bring terrorists to justice.
What is so stupid about this step – what human rights advocates call a mistake – stupid beyond the lame rhetoric of extraordinary measures needed in extraordinary circumstances? It is the non-senselessness of the measure itself.
The entire push for the military courts is based on the senseless assumption that quick death penalty by the military courts will deter terrorists from more killing or bloodshed. How well it agrees with observation and ground reality? Not a tad. Terrorists like those shooting children and civilians recklessly are not afraid of death. Those who attacked the school blew themselves up as they do in targeted gatherings. Had they been afraid of death, they wouldn’t be tying bombs to themselves at all. They are not there to be arrested – and the school attack showed that Pakistan’s military is not capable of arresting them – nor is anyone else.
The only way to stop these terrorists is to stay ahead of them and fail their attempts to target the people, to block their action not by trying to catch them and hanging them because they don’t want life; they just want the death of others.
The real motives of the establishment of military courts are subject of serious speculation. Given the military’s increasing political targeting of a few political parties – all in opposition to Mr. Sharif – the establishment of military courts gives an open sign of the end of democracy in Pakistan, something that never was there in the first place, except for its illusion.