Islamabad: Around 3,300 people accused of being hardcore terrorists will be tried in special military courts in Pakistan over the next two years as part of measures adopted after the Taliban attack on a school that left over 140 students and teachers killed, media reported Thursday.
"Cases of around 3,000 suspected `jet black terrorists` arrested during the military operations in Swat, South and North Waziristan agencies, and 300 to 400 terror suspects being tried at anti-terrorism courts in the provinces will be sent to the military courts," a senior government functionary told the Express Tribune newspaper.
Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain Wednesday signed a bill into law creating the military courts a day after both houses of parliament approved the 21st Constitutional Amendment and Pakistan Army Act Amendment Bills by an overwhelming majority.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the creation of special military courts at the end of December after the massacre by the Taliban in an army-run school in the north-western city of Peshawar.
Despite strong political backing, the measure has also been met with misgivings about allowing justice to go into the hands of the all-powerful army.
"This bill is about military courts trying hardcore terrorists who kill Pakistanis... this is an important day for Pakistan when the nation decided that terrorists will be taken out from the roots," said Sharif after the vote.
Dawn newspaper, however, wrote that it was a "sad day" for Pakistan.
"We need a coherent strategy to fight insurgency, and political and civilian leaders should work together. But military tribunals are not the answer," said an editorial in Dawn, one of the country`s most influential newspapers.
After the terror attack on the school, Sharif also lifted the moratorium on the death penalty which has resulted in nine executions until now, the last two Wednesday.
In addition, the army has stepped up the offensive against Islamic insurgents in the north-western part of the country.