Pak SC upholds military court’s conviction of 16 terrorists
The Supreme Court in its 182-page decision ruled the appellants had not proved that the military violated their constitutional rights or failed to follow procedure. The decision is major blow to lawyers and civil society activists, who had been struggling to reverse the convictions by the military courts.
A five-member full bench, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, had reserved judgement on the appeals of the convicts on June 20.
The terrorists were convicted for the involvement in the Army Public School Attack in Peshawar, Parade Line bombing in Rawalpindi, the Bannu jailbreak and attacks on army convoys and installations. They were tried by special military courts set up after the Peshawar school attack for speedy trial of rebels.
It is not known when they were convicted and where the trial was held as such courts work at secret places due to security issues.
Army chief General Raheel Sharif had already rejected the appeals, but the convicts had challenged the sentences in the Supreme Court. The decision marks the first time the highest court has ruled on the legality of cases tried by the military.
According to The Express Tribune, senior lawyer and rights activist Asma Jahangir, the counsel for the convicts, on June 20 had demanded their retrial. She had said that lawyers were not given access to the record of trial. She had argued that they do not know under what law her client was taken into custody and whether due course of law was provided.
She contended that people were illegally arrested under the regulation, and later the constitutional amendment was introduced to hide the illegality.