COAS ap­proves death sen­tences of 7 ter­ror­ists

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Chief of Army Staff Gen­eral Ra­heel Sharif on Thurs­day ap­proved death sen­tences of seven "hard­core ter­ror­ists" in­volved in the mas­sacres at Peshawar's Army Public School and Karachi's Safoora Goth, a state­ment re­leased by the army's media wing said.

This is the first ap­proval of death sen­tences by the army chief fol­low­ing Supreme Court's re­cent judg­ment giv­ing le­gal cover to the es­tab­lish­ment of mil­i­tary courts in the coun­try. The con­victs, how­ever, have the right to ap­peal, said the state­ment from the In­ter Ser­vices Public Re­la­tios (ISPR). One ter­ror­ist has also been awarded life im­pris­on­ment, said the ISPR.

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties had unan­i­mously agreed over the is­sue of set­ting up mil­i­tary courts to tackle ter­ror­ism cases in the coun­try fol­low­ing the grue­some at­tack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in De­cem­ber 2014, fol­low­ing which the Par­lia­ment passed the 21st con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment to set up the said courts.

Pres­i­dent Mam­noon Hus­sain had pro­mul­gated an or­di­nance fur­ther re­vis­ing the re­cently amended Army Act to os­ten­si­bly aid the func­tion­ing of mil­i­tary courts by al­low­ing for tri­als in cam­era, i.e with­out the pres­ence of the public or the media, and over video link if nec­es­sary. But the con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment giv­ing le­gal cover to mil­i­tary courts was chal­lenged in the Supreme Court, which up­held the Par­lia­ment's sovereignty and al­lowed mil­i­tary courts to try and sen­tence hard­ened ter­ror­ists.

The apex court did how­ever keep the power to re­view sen­tences in cer­tain cases, where it feels if the con­di­tion of fair trial is not met.

Re­cently, fol­low­ing the SC's rul­ing, the fa­ther of a death-row con­vict Haider Ali, who re­ceived the sen­tence from a mil­i­tary court, chal­lenged the rul­ing in Supreme Court on Satur­day.

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