SC stays execution of two convicts, summons military courts’ record

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a stay of the execution of two terrorists convicted by military courts.

A two member bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed was hearing appeals of convicted terrorists, Haider Ali and Qari Zahir Gul. Counsel for convicts Advocate Asma Jahangir informed the court that Haider Ali and Zahir Gul were arrested four years ago from Swat valley under the Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation whereas the military courts were established through 21st Amendment in January 2015.

Thus decisions of the military courts cannot be implemented on past crimes, she said. She also argued that trial of the convicts by the military courts was unjust. Neither copies of the verdict were given nor were they allowed to hire lawyers of their choice. After hearing the arguments, the apex court suspended the death sentences of both the convicts and forwarded the matter to the chief justice for formation of larger bench to hear the case.

The court also summoned record of the military courts’ verdict and adjourned the case hearing till December 16. It may be mentioned here that a division bench of the Peshawar High Court on October 15 had upheld the death sentences handed by the military court to two terrorists and dismissed their appeals to reverse the verdict.

Pakistan has executed nearly 300 people since the death penalty was reinstated following a mass killing at a school in Peshawar last December.

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