PHC suspends death sentence of military court convict

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday deferred the execution of a death row inmate sentenced by a military court after his family challenged his conviction as being unfair and that he was not given a chance to defend himself.

The order was issued by a two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Abdul Shakoor Khan while hearing the petition submitted by the family of Pir Syed Ameer Faisal, a resident of Hangu district through a senior lawyer, Shabier Hussain Gigyani.

The bench suspended his execution and put the respondents, Federal ministry of interior, on notice for January 31.

Explaining the background of the case in the court; his lawyer said that the convict was picked by the security agencies from his house in Hangu on November 4, 2011. The lawyer said that the family has registered an FIR under section 365 of Pakistan Penal Code at Hangu police station against the security forces on order of the Commission for missing persons, Islamabad.

The lawyer further added in 2012, they have also filed a writ petition Peshawar high Court and while submitting their response to the petition, the state institutions admitted that Faisal is in the custody of the security forces at an internment centre in Kohat. “The family is surprised when they heard about his execution order issued by a military court,” said the lawyer. “He has not been given a free trial and a lawyer to defend him against the charges levelled against him.”

The court after hearing his arguments set suspended the sentence and directed interior ministry to submit a detailed response to the case till January 31.

The deferment comes after the PHC has set aside the convictions of 74 persons convicted by the military court in terrorism charges on October 19, 2018. However, the ministry of defence and the federal interior ministry have challenged the order in the supreme court of Pakistan where the case is still pending for hearing.