Death penalty: LHC rejects appeals of seven military court convicts

Their cases were shifted to military authorities from Kot Lakhpat jail

Our Correspondent December 13, 2016

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court dismissed on Tuesday the appeals of seven militants convicted by military courts in cases of targeted killings.

An LHC division bench comprising Justices Shahid Mahmood Abbasi and Shahid Mehmood Sethi dismissed the writ petitions of the seven convicts associated with proscribed organisations after going through the record of the military court’s proceedings and arguments presented in-camera by the federal government.

The military courts had awarded death penalty to Sabir Shah, Abdul Rauf, Awais Gujjar, Suleman Pathan, Rafiullah and Sheikh Farhan, but the heirs of the convicts challenged their sentences before the high court.

On behalf of the appellants, Advocate Ali Zia Bajwa argued the trial of the convicts was under way in anti-terrorism courts when their cases were shifted to the military authorities from Kot Lakhpat jail. Neither the convicts were allowed to meet their families nor given a chance to engage a counsel to defend themselves before the military courts, he added.

The counsel contended the families of the convicts only come to know about the military courts’ decision through a press release issued by the military’s media cell. He requested the court to set aside the conviction by the military courts and acquit the petitioners.

The LHC judges, however, rejected the appeal.

Model Town inquiry

The Lahore High Court has dismissed the petition filed by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) seeking the public release of the judicial inquiry into the Model Town carnage.

On Tuesday, an LHC full bench dismissed the plea for making the yet-to-be-released report a part of the religio-political party’s private complaint pending in an anti-terrorism court.

Through its complaint, the PAT seeks the trial of prime minister, Punjab chief minister and others on charges of killing 14 party workers in a standoff with Lahore police on June 17, 2014.

PAT’s counsel Rai Bashir Ahmad argued the Punjab government with mala fide intention restricted the publication of the report of the inquiry held by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi.

He said if the report became a part of the ATC proceedings, it would strengthen the statements of the witnesses.

The lawyer asked the bench to dismiss an order of the trial court and order it to make the inquiry report a necessary part of the proceedings on the complaint.

Minhajul Quran Administration Director Jawwad Hamid had filed the petition against dismissal of their application by the ATC.

The LHC bench headed by Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali dismissed the petition, announcing a reserved verdict.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2016.


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