The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday rejected the bail pleas of 13 convicts out of the 15 charged with targeting former president Pervez Musharraf and sought the case record of the other two by April 6.
The court observed in its order that the points raised in the review applications against the previous Supreme Court decision had already been addressed in detail.
Hashmat Habib, counsel for Rana Naveed and Amir Sohail contended before a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary that his clients were denied a fair trial and awarded death sentence by a military court. They were tried by the military court after being sentenced by a trial court to 20 and 10 years’ imprisonment respectively.
The court sought the record of proceedings in the military court against Rana Naveed and Amir Sohail from the ministry of defense by April 6. Col (retd) Akram appeared on behalf of the rest of the 13 accused and contended that his arguments in defence of his clients were not given due consideration at any forum. Since the convicts are civilians, they cannot be tried by a military court.
Former president Pervez Musharraf was attacked twice in Jhanda Chichi on December 14 and 25 in 2003. Fifteen people were arrested for their alleged involvement in the attack and tried by a military court which awarded death sentence to ten of the accused, 20 years’ life imprisonment to four of them and 10 years’ imprisonment to one. They filed appeals for a review but the court maintained the death sentence and converted the imprisonment of Rana Naveed and Amir Sohail into death sentence as well. They filed appeals against the military court’s ruling in the Supreme Court which upheld the decision and disposed off their appeals. They appealed against the Supreme Court’s decision and pleaded that they were never denied a fair trial.
Col Akram submitted that army generals do not respect SC orders. “They do it behind closed doors but the people’s representatives are flouting the Supreme Court’s orders on the streets,” the Chief Justice remarked. “The judiciary will however, continue to make decisions according to the Constitution.” The CJP directed him to give a written statement on which the court will take action in accordance with the law and the Constitution and without prejudice.
The ten convicts awarded the death sentence are Mushtaq Ahmed, Khalid Mehmood, Nawazish Ali, Niaz Ahmed, Adnan Arshad, Naik Arshad Mehmood, Zubair Ahmed, Rashid Qureshi, Ghulam Servar Bhatti, Ikhlas Ahmed. Karam Din, Nasarullah, Amir Sohail, Rana Naveed and Adnan Khan were sentenced to prison terms.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 01st, 2011.
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