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Pakistani Lawmakers Approve Military Courts

Pakistan's parliament has approved a constitutional amendment enabling military courts to try civilian terrorism suspects.

Both the upper and lower house of parliament approved the changes on January 6 in unanimous votes.

Members of two religious parties, the Jamat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal, abstained.

The amendment is expected to be approved by the president this week.

It would be in effect for two years.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said last month that establishing military trials would help ensure "terrorists pay the price" for their "heinous acts."

Pakistan has taken steps to crack down on militants following a Pakistani Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that killed 142 children and nine staff on December 16.

Rights activists have criticized the government for lifting the suspension on the death penalty and executing terror convicts.