Eight of 10 Malala attackers were allowed to walk free

Published: June 5, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

In a startling revelation, eight of the 10 militants jailed for life over involvement in the 2012 near-fatal attack on Malala Yousafzai have been freed, media reports revealed on Friday.  

“It was the court’s decision to frame charges against two of the 10 accused and release eight others,” security officials said, refuting claims that attackers in Malala’s case were released as part of a deal.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Regional Police Officer (RPO) Maland Division, Azad Khan, said, “An anti-terrorism court had sentenced two attackers, lIsarur Rehman and Izharullah, to life imprisonment, the rest of the eight alleged attackers Shaukat, Irfan, Suleman, Bilal, Zafar Ali, Arafat, Ikran and Adnan were set free.”

The courts are free to make their decisions, the police official said.

“The case was not hidden and its details were all on the record of the judiciary,” he added, claiming the attackers might have been released because the decision of the court must have reached the jail administration.

Confirming his statement, District Police Officer (DPO) Saleem Marwat said that the judiciary made its decision and there were no covert deals.

“The two attackers charged were sent in District Haripur jail and were serving their sentence,” he added.

Citing senior security sources, the Daily Mirror reported that the prison sentences for the 10 accused were “a tactic to get the media pressure away from the Malala case, because the whole world wanted convictions for the crime.”

“Only two of those accused of being behind the plot to assassinate the schoolgirl, who spoke out against Taliban oppression of female education, are serving the 25 years the authorities claimed the whole gang were given,” the Daily Mirror claimed.

Muneer Ahmed, a spokesperson for the Pakistani High Commission in London, said on Friday that the eight men were acquitted because of a lack of evidence.

Ahmed claimed that the original court judgement made it clear only two men had been convicted and blamed the confusion on misreporting.

Read: 10 Malala attackers jailed for life

The Daily Mirror’s source added, “The trial had absolutely no credibility as nobody was there to witness it but a public prosecutor, a judge, the army and the accused.”

“But the truth is that, whether these acquitted men were involved or not in the Malala shooting, the public has been lied to,” the source alleged.

Further, the source said, “Ten men are not behind bars for the crime, as the Pakistani authorities would have us believe. That is a big lie.”

Read: Malala Yousafzai’s attackers arrested: DG ISPR

A security source told the BBC, the trial was held at a military facility rather than a court and was shrouded in secrecy.

“The authorities did not make the judgement available at any stage, nor did they correct the reports over the past two months that 10 men had been convicted,” BBC reported.

The announcement of the convictions in April took many by surprise as no one was aware the trial was taking place. Further, authorities did not say when and where the men had been arrested or how they were linked to the attack, or explain the charges against them.

Ten militants involved in the 2012 near-fatal attack on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai were jailed for 25 years each by an anti-terrorism court in Swat on April 30. ATC Mingora Judge Muhammad Amin Kondi sentenced all the militants to life imprisonment for planning and shooting the teenage education activist in an attack that had triggered a global outcry.

The convicted militants – identified as Zafar Iqbal, Adnan, Salman, Irfan, Hazrat Bilal, Izhar, Zafar Ali, Shaukat Ali, Ikram and Israr Rehman – were arrested in September last year during raids in the Nawakaley, Ningolai and Fizagat areas of Swat.

The militants admitted TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah had masterminded the attack on Malala, which also left her  two friends, Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, injured, according to the military.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Zaida Parvez
    Jun 5, 2015 - 3:17PM

    Pakistan is a lawless, unprincipled nation.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 5, 2015 - 3:37PM

    A real basket case Pakistan is turning out to be with the Judicial system being encroached upon and taken over by the Military. Of course there is nothing new in the fact that Governments have been lying to citizens about almost everything happening in the country. Recommend

  • Bismah
    Jun 5, 2015 - 3:56PM

    The remaining two will be released shortly.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jun 5, 2015 - 4:37PM

    This is not one example how our security bosses make deals and fool whole nation. Recommend

  • Frank Underwood
    Jun 5, 2015 - 4:56PM

    No future for a country where criminals walk freely; where judiciary, the politicians and the military are all corrupt and lining their own pockets….nothing comes as a surprise anymore. How low can we go, that is the question.Recommend

  • sabahat
    Jun 5, 2015 - 5:06PM

    The journalist and the editorial staff of newspaper need to learn the reporting techniques, and ethics. The news is different from the headline. Please stop making sensational news. An average reader is a rational enough to dig in.Recommend

  • waseem
    Jun 5, 2015 - 5:51PM

    There is no fault of military. Police or army’s job is to arrest the criminals. There trials are held under judiciary…judiciary system should be corrected. Thats why military courts were made because you dont normally have evidences in terrorism cases….but again military courts are not yet functional…Recommend

  • Suryawardhan
    Jun 5, 2015 - 5:57PM

    One would have thought that the ‘secrecy’ element would actually have helped put the perpetrators behind the bars for good. Quite evidently, this is an attempt to prevent the brave girl from turning into a symbol of resistance against religious fanatism and imploding sexism. The army and political class surely doesn’t want the oppressed women folk to emulate the girl in any way whatsoever. A captive judicial system, overpowered and stage-managed by an equally shambolic political setup.Recommend

  • curious2
    Jun 5, 2015 - 6:28PM

    According to the BBC …
    .
    The acquittals emerged after reporters from the London-based Daily Mirror attempted to locate the 10 convicted men in prisons in Pakistan. The trial was held at a military facility rather than a court and was shrouded in secrecy. . Pakistani authorities did not make the judgement available at any stage, nor did they correct the reports over the past two months that 10 men had been convicted. No journalists had been made aware that the trial was taking place.
    .
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33018334Recommend

  • Frank Underwood
    Jun 5, 2015 - 7:22PM

    @waseem:
    I’m sorry I disagree with you. It is not army’s job to arrest criminals, that’s the job of local/national law enforcement bodies. In the same vain it is not army’s job to formulate or dictate foregin policy or to run bakeries and other business enterprises. The military belongs in the barracks, not trying to be the power behind the throne. Period. The fact that they haven’t let any other state institution to develop over the past 50 years just shows how much they value democracy. Then again, you can blame all the political parties for their incompetence in not strengthening the state as well. All in all, no one cares about the state or it’s citizens; it’s every man for himself. Recommend

  • Sam
    Jun 5, 2015 - 8:28PM

    It’s getting closer and closer to a revolution. If justice can’t be provided then one day common man will serve it on its own. Wake up Pakistan. Oh well all important positions are held by corrupt supported by west. Recommend

  • harkol
    Jun 6, 2015 - 12:06AM

    After a public trial that punishes them for life, a secret, private trial releases them…

    It appears there is a court available for the verdict one wants!!

    So much for the claim of eliminating terror. Pakistan stands completely discredited.Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Jun 6, 2015 - 12:15AM

    @curious2:This secrecy and judgement – is this not a big joke Recommend

  • chill
    Jun 6, 2015 - 2:48AM

    This will get lost in all the misguided rhetoric in Pakistan. A country will only succeed if it is focused on economic growth, finding opportunities for its people. Pakistan’s focus on saving face and not dealing head-on with the real issues at hand. Recommend

  • Ih
    Jun 6, 2015 - 5:08AM

    Symptomatic of society at large. We all advocate ideals but basically, infuence intimidation and money alters the equation. Institutions have not developed enough to cope with normal situations. Religious and gang intimidation murders of police officers attacks on judiciary has undermined structure of state. Every one shares the blame not somebody from Mars .Recommend

  • Ih
    Jun 6, 2015 - 5:14AM

    @Frank Underwood: you are talking about Westren democracies. They did not learn this lesson in a short span . Pakistan in due course will learn current schizophrenic thinking does not work. They will hopefully evolve a hust system.Recommend

  • Ashraf
    Jun 6, 2015 - 5:58AM

    The so-called “arrests” were a sham to begin with. Not one photo surfaced. When authorities start to behave like a mob, there is no hope.Recommend

  • globalobserver
    Jun 7, 2015 - 11:14AM

    This raises the question as to whether the Malala attackers were agents of the Deep State.Recommend

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