Pak top court backs military courts
Pakistan's Supreme Court yesterday approved controversial new military courts set up to hear terror cases, rejecting an attempt to have them ruled illegal. Lawmakers approved a change to the constitution in January to establish the military courts, as part of a crackdown on militancy following a Taliban massacre at a school which left more than 150 people -- mostly children -- dead. The move prompted concern from rights activists and in April a group of lawyers challenged the constitutional amendment that created them. But a 17-member bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the petition by 11 votes to six, Chief Justice Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk said in a brief ruling before a detailed judgement expected later. Parliament has approved the use of the courts for the coming two years, and cases are referred to them by provincial governments. But some have called for the trials to be more transparent.