PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday stayed the execution of five militants convicted by a military court on different counts of terrorism and suspended their death sentences.
Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan issued notice to the defence ministry seeking records of the cases of those convicts, whose family members have separately challenged sentences.
Khalid Anwar Afridi was the lawyer for convict Fazal Ali, whereas Barrister Tajamul represented other convicts, including Torah Gul, Mohammad Wali, Payo Jan and Khial Jan.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), media wing of Pakistan Army, had on Nov 22 issued a press release wherein it was mentioned that the Chief of Army Staff had confirmed death sentences awarded to 10 hard core militants including the present five convicts.
Asks defence ministry to produce records of their cases
Lawyer Khalid Anwar said convict Fazal Ali was a resident of Swat and was handed over to Pakistan Army by a local Jirga in 2009.
He added that after that he had gone missing and later on he was traced at an internment centre at the Pak-Austrian Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management in Swat.
He stated that the family members had met him at the said centre in 2014. He added that on Nov 23 the family members came to know about his conviction by the military court through newspapers.
He added that the convict was innocent and he was not provided opportunity of fair trial including selecting a counsel of his choice.
About Fazal Ali, the ISPR had claimed that he and two other convicts were members of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and they were involved in attacking law-enforcement agencies and personnel of armed forces. It was claimed that the said attacks had resulted in death of Havildar Munir Ahmed and Sepoy Sajid Khan and injuries to several soldiers.
About the other four convicts, Barrister Tajamul said they were residents of Khyber Agency and were taken into custody early this year. He added that they were not given opportunity of presenting proper defence and were also not provided record of their cases.
About the said four convicts, the ISPR had claimed that they were members of Lashkar-i-Islam, a Bara-based banned outfit.
The ISPR claimed that Tirah Gul and Mohammad Wali had attacked LEAs and armed forces resulting into the killing of Havildar Noor Mast, two naiks Farman Ali and Shabbir Akhtar, and sepoys Humayun, Fakhar Alam and Ismail and injuries to many other soldiers.
Similarly, about Khial Jan the ISPR had stated that he was involved in attacks which had killed a civilian Abdullah and a member of Khasadar force, Sameed Khan, and had injured several others.
Moreover, the ISPR had claimed that the convict Payo Jan was involved in attacks on LEAs which had resulted in the death of sepoy Qasim Raza.
The high court has normally been conducting in-camera proceedings of final arguments in cases of military courts convicts.
Several of the military court convicts approached the high court but failed to get relief against their convictions.
Appeals of several of them were also turned down by the Supreme Court. Currently, their review petitions are pending with the apex court.
courtesy : dawn news