SC bars PHC from releasing 290 military court convicts on bail

Case adjourned til Monday, apex court issues notices to all respondents

Hasnaat Malik May 13, 2020

The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday barred the Peshawar High Court (PHC) from passing interim orders pertaining to the release, on bail, of 290 military court convicts.

The bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Amin heard the federal government's plea to halt the PHC from passing bail granting orders in favour of 290 militants who were convicted earlier by the military courts.

The bench also asked the high court to proceed the matter on merit and issued a notice to all respondents.

The case has been adjourned till Monday.

Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed said if the high court grants bail, there will be an irreparable loss.

A bench presided by PHC Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth is currently hearing appeals filed by 290 alleged militants and their facilitators convicted by military courts – that were formed in the wake of the December 16, 2014 attack on a military-run school in Peshawar.

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The federal government had requested the PHC to form a larger bench on account of conflicting views of different benches on the matter.

However, the PHC chief justice did not accept the government's plea.

Later, the government challenged the PHC order regarding the rejection of its plea to form a larger bench in the apex court and requested the court to hear the case on a priority basis.

The SC clubbed the matter with the government appeals against PHC's earlier decision to set aside the conviction of 73 people by the military court and a three-judge bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Mazhar Alam and Justice Yahya Afridi took up the case on Tuesday.

However, at the onset of the hearing, Justice Afridi said Justice Alam had been a part of the PHC when it passed orders against convictions by the military court.

AGP Khalid Javed had said the matter was not just limited to the formation of a larger PHC bench as the PHC is also hearing the convicts' bail applications and a new crisis could emerge.


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