Question of maintainability : Court seeks legal help on death sentence appeal

Sabir Shah was convicted by military court over sectarian killing of a Lahore lawyer

Hasnaat Malik September 22, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The top court has sought legal assistance over maintaining an appeal against a military court’s ruling of death sentence to an alleged militant.

Sabir Shah, believed to be a member of a banned militant organisation, was convicted for his suspected involvement in the sectarian killing of lawyer Syed Arshad Ali in Lahore.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, Tuesday heard the appeal against the military court’s verdict.

Shah’s mother Laila Bibi claimed in her petition that her son was a juvenile and was not given the right to a fair trial or even informed about being tried by a military court.

Laila’s counsel Dr Khalid Ranjha requested the court to summon the judgment of the conviction and the record of the trial to provide them to the petitioner for the purpose of a judicial review.

Dr Ranjha also requested the top court to issue a stay order against the death sentence, which was confirmed last week by army chief Gen Raheel Sharif.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa said to him: “Even though you were in favour of setting up of military courts, how could you now defend a man who was awarded the death sentence by a military court?”

When the bench suggested appealing in the military court, the counsel said he wasn’t provided with the record of the military court’s proceedings.

However, the bench asked the counsel to assist the court as regards maintaining the petition and adjourned the hearing until October 2.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2015.


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