Lawyers in Peshawar go on Strike

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday suspended the execution of two inmates, sentenced to death by the military court, after their families challenged their conviction, claiming that they were not given a free and fair trial.

A single-member bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), suspended the sentence after it heard the preliminary arguments of Barrister Mian Tajamal Shah, who had filed the petition on behalf of their families.

The lawyer in his petition said that his clients, Fida Husain and Afreen Khan, residents of Swat had been convicted to death by a military court without observing the due process of law and providing an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges.

The writ petition, which was also supported by an affidavit, claimed that both the convicts were arrested from Swat a few years back. They added that their families did not know where they were during this period. But recently, the families learnt through newspapers that both were sentenced to death by a military court over their terror involvement.

In light of the writ petition and submission of the petitioner’s counsel, the court admitted the case for regular hearing and issued notices to the respondents including the Interior secretary and president of the military court. The PHC bench further ordered that until a final judgment in the case is pronounced, his death sentence shall remain suspended.

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on December 22 had confirmed death sentence awarded to 14 hardcore terrorists in heinous offences. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) — the media wing of the military, they were involved in attacks on law enforcement agencies, communications infrastructure, police stations and educational institutions which also left innocent civilians dead.

The PHC on October 18, has also set aside convictions of 74 persons by the military court, however, the interior minister has challenged the high court’s judgment in the Supreme Court and currently, the verdict stands suspended.

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