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Pakistan court upholds death sentence to 7 military court convicts

A two-member bench headed by Justice Abdul Sami Khan dismissed the petitions after going through the record of the military court's proceedings/convictions presented by the federal government in-camera.

By: PTI | Lahore |
December 14, 2016 5:01:30 pm

A Pakistani court has upheld the death penalty of seven militants of banned Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) handed out by military courts in different target killing cases. The Lahore High Court on Tuesday dismissed writ petitions of seven death row prisoners against their conviction by the military courts.

A two-member bench headed by Justice Abdul Sami Khan dismissed the petitions after going through the record of the military court’s proceedings/convictions presented by the federal government in-camera.

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The military courts had awarded death penalty to Sabir Shah, Abdul Rauf, Awais Gujjar, Suleman Pathan, Rafiullah and Sheikh Farhan for their alleged involvement in the killings of a lawyer, a banker and driver of journalist Raza Rumi. Rumi had survived the attack and has been settled in the US.

Families of the convicts had challenged the sentences handed down by military courts’ before the high court for being unlawful.

Advocate Ali Zia Bajwa, a counsel for convicts, said the applicants’ trial was shifted to military authorities from the anti-terrorism court which held its proceedings at the Kot Lakhpat jail Lahore and was to close to conclude the case.

He said neither the convicts were allowed to meet their families nor given a chance to engage counsel to defend them before the military courts.

Zia said the families of the convicts learned about the military courts’ verdict through a press release issued by Inter Services Public Relations, media wing of the army.

The counsel argued that no record of the military courts’ proceedings was provided to the petitioners in violation of several judgements of the Supreme Court. He said a suspect could not make his/her defence unless provided complete record of the case charges.

He said the requisites of justice were not met by the military courts while awarding the impugned punishments. He asked the court to set aside the conviction by the military courts and acquit the convicts.

However, the bench dismissed the petitions and upheld the conviction.

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