Reiterating that he considered the Senate resolution backing military trials of civilians against the Constitution, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani on Monday vowed to continue opposing it until its withdrawal.
Last week, the Upper House of Parliament adopted a resolution against the Supreme Court’s verdict on the trials of civilians in military courts, urging the apex court to reconsider it. It also called for a stay on the ruling’s implementation until appeals against it were heard. Passed with the support of 12 lawmakers, only two of the senators in attendance—Jamaat-e-Islam’s Mushtaq Ahmed and PPP’s Rabbani—had opposed it. Since its passage, several senators have opposed it and called for its withdrawal, noting the Upper House lacked quorum when it was passed.
Taking up the matter on the floor of the House once more, Rabbani recalled that he had voted for the 2015 bill that established military courts, adding he regretted it to this day but was bound by party discipline. He claimed his vote had been cast solely on the PPP’s behalf. “I was ashamed of voting for the bill,” he said, adding he had voted against his conscience.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Ali Zafar similarly urged the Senate to take action and condemn any violation of basic human rights. He described the military trial of civilians as “unfair.”
Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar—whose party’s lawmakers were the primary supporters of the resolution—admitted it was passed in haste.
JI Senator Ahmad, meanwhile, described the resolution as an attack on both the House and democracy as a whole. Maintaining he and Rabbani were not allowed to voice their opposition to the resolution when it was passed, he claimed the leaders of the House and the opposition were both kept in the dark about it and no debate was permitted. “It will strengthen undemocratic forces,” he said of the resolution.
The Senate session was subsequently adjourned due to a lack of quorum with Deputy Chairman Mirza Muhammad Afridi not taking up any agenda items.