KARACHI: Fifteen additional district and sessions’ judges in Karachi have been conferred powers under the anti-terrorism act 1997 to hear and decide the cases of terrorism, target killings and other offences falling within the ambit of the anti-terrorism law.
The outgoing Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has conferred powers to those judges whose names were forwarded by the Sindh High Court’s Chief Justice Mushir Alam on the directives issued by the Supreme Court.
The apex court’s larger bench, while hearing the Karachi violence suo motu implementation case, had taken serious note of the performance of the existing three ATCs in the face of worsening law and order situation in the city. It had said that the Sindh government may establish 15 to 20 more Anti-Terrorism Courts to ensure that the culprits involved in terrorism, target killings and other offences under the ATC do not go scot-free.
Instead of waiting for the lengthy process of recruiting judges, the SC had ordered that all the sessions judges in five districts of city be accorded powers under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 for at least three months to enable the expeditious trial of suspects involved in heinous crimes.
On Wednesday, the home department issued a notification which said that the Sindh CM being the competent authority had conferred powers under the ATA 1997 to the additional district and sessions judges.
Shah Hussain Chandio, Syed Ikramur Rehman, Tariq Mehmood Khoso, Irfan Ahmed Meo Rajput, Abdul Naeem Memon, Zahida Sikandar, Amna Nazeer Ansari, Nadeem Ahmed Khan, Surraiya Mehboob, Naseem Mansoor, Aaliya Latif Unar, Rashida Siddiqui, Sadaf Yousuf and Munawar Sultana were given the powers by the CM. They have been directed to hear and decide the cases which have been transferred to them by the ATCs Administrative judge under the anti-terrorism law, in addition to their usual judicial work.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2013.