ISLAMABAD  -    Prime Minister Imran Khan and Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser on Friday discussed the need to maintain conducive environment in the upcoming session of the National Assembly for taking forward important legislation on different subjects.

The meeting covered topics ranging from pending legislative business to role of speaker office in ensuring a conducive environment in the house.

Sources said they discussed the legislation related to the extension of military courts to try hardcore terrorists. The two-year extension given to the military courts had expired on March 30.  The government side might go for the legislation of military courts in the upcoming national assembly session, starting from April 12 (Friday). The upcoming session will continue for around two weeks.

The Parliament had earlier given one-time approval to the establishment of military courts through the 21st amendment in the constitution and another amendment in the Pakistan Army Act 1952. Through another 23rd Constitutional amendment, the parliament had given an extension to the military courts for two years more following their tenure had expired in January 2017.

The government side for this amendment will be in need of support of main opposition parties (PML-N and PPP-P). Source said the government’s main lawmakers might soon engage in discussion with opposition to jointly pass this amendment related to military courts. According to the reported figures shared by the government in December 2018, the federal government sent as many as 717 cases of suspected terrorists to military courts since their establishment. Out of these, 546 cases have been finalised and a decision has yet to be taken on the remaining cases.

Out of the decided cases, 310 accused in terrorism cases were awarded death penalty while remaining 234 were awarded rigorous imprisonment of various durations including life imprisonment. The military courts also acquitted two accused.

Those convicted were involved in major terrorist attacks including APS terrorist attack, Marriot Hotel Islamabad attack (September 2008), Parade Lane attack (December 2009), and attacks on offices of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in Multan and Sukkar and other cases. The Prime Minister, during the meeting, lauded the formation of National Assembly Special Committee on Agricultural Products to revitalize agriculture in the country.

Meanwhile, PML-N with the support of opposition parties requested the Speaker National Assembly to allow their party’s senior member Khwaja Saad Rafique to attend the upcoming National Assembly session.

Senior PML-N lawmakers submitted application in National Assembly Secretariat, requesting NA Speaker Asad Qaiser to issue production order of Khwaja Saad.

Khwaja Saad is in custody of the NAB in Paragon Housing Society scam. He was allowed to attend some of the proceedings by the speaker under the rules. However, the Speaker in some of the proceedings did not entertain the application of former ruling party (PML-N). The PML-N members had registered a complaint to speaker for not issuing production order of their party members. They also twice walked out during the proceedings of the national assembly in protest.  PML-N lawmakers have submitted separate applications in the National Assembly Secretariat for allowing their party member to attend the proceeding of national assembly standing committee on Railways.

The main opposition party’s members have mentioned in the applications to allow their party’s senior members to attend the proceedings of upcoming National Assembly session starting from Friday (12 April) ,under rules 2007 (section -108).

The speaker office may complete the process for issuing the production orders in the mid of next week to make sure the presence Saad Rafique in the Friday’s National Assembly session.

Under the production orders from the National Assembly speaker, PML-N’s senior leader Saad Rafique can only attend the proceeding of the national assembly and proceedings of standing committee of Railways.

As the Rule 108 of the National Assembly says: “the Speaker of chairman of parliamentary body may summon a member in custody to attend sittings of the Assembly if the speaker “considers their presence “necessary.”

Political experts said that the speaker national assembly Asad Qaiser would issue production order of PML-N member to avoid any controversy as the government wants important legislation in upcoming NA proceedings.