PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday directed the federal government not to grant clemency to Ehsanullah Ehsan, the spokesperson for the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and not release him without a court order.
A divisional bench of the PHC, comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Ikram Ullah Khan, disposed of a petition expressing concern over plans to release Ehsan. The bench noted that Ehsan, being the prime accused in the 2014 Army Public School (APS) attack, could not be granted clemency.
The court directed the state authorities to continue interrogation of the TTP operative after Deputy Attorney General Mussarat Ullah said the alleged terrorist was still under investigation and would be tried in a military court once the probe was over.
“The petition is liable to the wrapped up as it is still immature to file such a case when Ehsan is still under investigation,” the DAG argued before the court. “The claim of the petitioner is only based on hearsay and he has not presented any solid proof and writing document which can prove his claim.”
“After the military court’s trial, the petitioner has the right to challenge the verdict in the PHC,” he said, adding that the government had no plan to release Ehsan. Former TTP spokesperson and a top leader of its Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction, Ehsan surrendered to the security forces in April, 2017. Later, a petition was filed by Fazal Khan, father of an APS student through Barrister Amirullah Chamkani, highlighting that Ehsan had been under custody for a long time but not presented before any trial court.
The petitioner said Ehsan himself accepted responsibility of the APS attack and now he should be tried under the law so that speedy justice could be provided to the families of the APS victims.
“But instead of providing us justice, now a plan has been made to grant clemency to Ehsanullah Ehsan. Families of the APS attack victims will never accept it,” the petition said.
The counsel argued that the federal government in its response to the petition neither clearly stated its intention about granting clemency nor did it repudiate the claim of the petitioner. The lawyer asked for a clear response and assurance from relevant authorities that Ehsan would not be pardoned.
The court remarked that Ehsan was the prime accused in the heinous attack on the APS and under the law he could not be granted clemency by the government or any other authority of the state. The court asked the state authorities to continue investigating Ehsan and disposed of the petition.