ISLAMABAD: Around 388 cases have been transferred to 11 special trial courts, established under National Action Plan (NAP) are serving as a cogent deterrent against terrorism.
The performance of Special Trial Courts (STCs) is crucial in sentencing terrorists and preventing further promotion of terrorism. The decrease in incidence of terrorism can be attributed to quick trials and sentencing of terrorists.
A Review December-2017 issued by National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) on Tuesday said decisions of these courts are forwarded to Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan Army, who issues order for the death sentence to be carried out.
During intense wave of terrorist activity, a large number of both civilian and security forces’ personnel lost their lives every week, it was a rare occurrence that a terrorist would be captured alive, or arrested prior to carrying out an attack.
However, even if terrorists were captured, the legal process was not retrofitted to deal with adverse conditions.
The Law of Evidence (Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order of 1984) could not be brought to bear for evidences against such miscreants; in some cases, arrested terrorists escaped from prisons; in other cases, suspected terrorists were acquitted for lack of evidence or due to loopholes in investigation process.
Even arrested suspects could rest assured that they would be freed for one reason or another.
The Review said upon institution of National Action Plan in December 2014, a holistic augmentation of anti-terrorism legislation took place and the judicial process for trying terror suspects was revamped. Under the 21st Amendment to Constitution of Pakistan, military courts were allowed jurisdiction over terrorism cases and were established as special ‘speedy’ trial courts.
Initial period for their op-eration was two years, which commenced on January 7, 2-015, and received an extensi-on for another two years in March 2017 through the 28th Amendment to the Constit-ution. Eleven (11) special trial courts were notified as per the above Constitutional amendments and to ensure against miscarriage of justice, a system of referring cases to Special Trial Courts has been put in place.
The step-wise system includes identification of cases by local police and CTDs and scrutiny by Chief Police Officer and submission to Home Department, after examination, Home Departments forward cases to Provincial Apex Committees which forward cases to Ministry of Interior for perusal and approval of Minister of Interior.
The Ministry of Interior forwards cases to JAG, Pakistan Army, for submission to trial court.