Islamabad, Nov 11: President Pervez Musharraf has amended the Army Act 1952 to empower the army to arrest, investigate and try civilians in a military court if they are found guilty of having committed a crime against defence, security or armed forces of Pakistan.
Musharraf amended the Army Act through an ordinance, which had been promulgated with retrospective effect. Crimes committed since January 1, 2003, will now be tried under the amended act.
"The civilians found guilty of having committed offences, which have been included in the Army Act with this amendment, will now be court martialled," said Attorney General Malik Qayyum.
The crimes/offences, punishable under the Explosive Substances Act 1908, Prejudicial Conduct under Security of Pakistan Act 1952, Pakistan Arms Ordinance 1965, Prevention of Anti-national Activities Act 1974 or Anti-terrorism Act 1997 and sections 109, 117, 120B, 121, 121A, 122, 123, 123A, 124, 124A, 148, 302, 353 and 505 of the Pakistan Penal Code or attempt to commit any of these offences, will now be tried under the act.
"It is not a new thing as similar laws are in practice in India, United Kingdom and the United States," the Daily Times quoted Qayyum, as saying.