Pakistan has been fighting terror in a general sense for many years now, but the December 16 attack on a Peshawar school, which killed 145 people, almost all of them schoolchildren, has become a game-changer, with officials scrambling to adopt a new anti-terror policy.
Premier Nawaz Sharif vows to see his government “eradicate” terror nationwide, irrespective of the cost, echoing calls from other political leaders for an absolute victory that has been elusive the world over.
In that, Pakistan seems to be following the post-9/11 US and other terror-obsessed nations with the imposition of new, draconian policies aimed to prove they are “tough on terror.” Mirroring the US military tribunal system, Pakistan announced last week the creation of a military court system to deal with all terrorism-related cases, aiming to deny them the usual legal protections afforded in civilian court.
The military court system has proven controversial, with many complaining it undermines Pakistan’s already shaky democracy, which has undergone so many coups d’etat in years base.
Pakistan’s Information Minister, determined to defend the policy, insists that only military courts could “save democracy” from terrorism. As usual, the official hope is that fear will trump responsibility.