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Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s Ehsanullah Ehsan (L) talks with TTP member Adnan Rasheed following a press conference in Shabtoi, a village in South Waziristan, on February 2, 2013. — Photo by AFP
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s Ehsanullah Ehsan (L) talks with TTP member Adnan Rasheed following a press conference in Shabtoi, a village in South Waziristan, on February 2, 2013. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD, Aug 11: Eight bar associations across the country had passed resolutions advocating the right of appeal for Adnan Rashid in a case regarding the attempt on the life of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2003.

Adnan Rashid, an Al Qaeda-linked former employee of the air force, is the alleged mastermind of the jailbreak in Dera Ismail Khan on July 30.

The associations passed the resolutions for granting the right of appeal to Rashid and other convicts in the case after the Supreme Court had dismissed appeals against their conviction by a military court.

Rashid, a former PAF junior technician, was among 12 people convicted in 2005 by the military court for attacking the convoy of Gen Musharraf in December 2003.

The other convicts were PAF chief technicians Nawazish Ali and Khalid Mehmood, Naik Arshad, Niaz Mehmood, Zubair Ahmed, Rashid Qureshi, Ikhlas Ahmed, Rana Naveed and civilians Mushtaq Ahmed, Ghulam Sarwar Bhatti and Amir Sohail.

They had been arrested for their alleged role in suicide attacks on Gen Musharraf on Dec 14, 2003, at Jhanda Chichi bridge in Rawalpindi and on Dec 25, 2003, in front of a petrol pump near the same place.

After in-camera hearing, the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) awarded death sentences in July 2005 to Rashid and other accused under the Army Act, 1952, which were later confirmed by the vice chief of the army staff.

In 2006, through counsel retired Col Mohammad Akram, Hashmat Ali Habib and Ikram Chaudhry, the convicts filed appeals in the Supreme Court against the FGCM sentence.

The convicts informed the court that they had been condemned unheard and there was no evidence against them.

They requested the apex court to review the FGCM sentence and to hear them through their counsel.

Earlier, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had rejected the plea of the convicts citing Clause 3 of Article 199 of the constitution which bars the courts from hearing cases related to armed forces personnel.

The Supreme Court upheld the LHC order and dismissed the appeals on Sept 25, 2006.

The convicts filed applications for review of the judgment but they were also dismissed in March 2011.

The bar associations of Rawalpindi, Abbottabad, Chakwal, Bahawalpur, Kahror Pakka, Kahuta, Kot Addu and Kotli (Azad Kashmir) passed the resolutions between June and August 2011 urging the federal government to file a review against the conviction.

The resolutions said “Article 199(3) of the constitution which places bar on the jurisdiction of high court in the matters relating to armed forces and the persons subject to the Army Act need to be scrapped”.

They demanded that “right of appeal, being a fundamental right, should be provided to all the members/employees of defence forces against the unilateral judicial and administrative decisions of military authorities before the concerned high courts as it has been provided in all the democratic countries”.

Before that, the Ex-Servicemen’s Society of Pakistan, an association of over 500,000 ex-military employees, had also adopted a resolution against the constitutional bar of Article 199(3) which restrained the high courts from hearing military related cases and 184(3) which barred the Supreme Court from undertaking cases related to the service of army personnel.

In April last year, Rashid and 380 other prisoners escaped from the Bannu Central Jail after the Taliban carried out an attack primarily to free him. A resident of Chhota Lahor area of Swabi, Rashid is fluent in English, Pashto and Urdu. He joined the PAF in 1997 and was around 24 when he was arrested in early 2004.

In an interview published in the March issue of an English language Jihadi magazine, Azan, Rashid alleged that “the Article 199(3) of the constitution of Pakistan provides immunity to the verdicts of military courts, as was done to us in our in-camera trial. The military were the judges, the plaintiffs, and the advocates; so how can one expect any justice from them? So what they did, nobody could touch or alter it.”

However, contrary to his stance before the courts that he was in Quetta at the time when convoy of Gen Musharraf was attacked and had nothing to do with it, Rashid in the interview not only admitted that he was part of the plan for the attack but also tried to justify it, saying the former ruler had made Pakistan a frontline state in the war against ‘Jihad’.

“The operation against Musharraf was not planned like this earlier; in the beginning we wanted to kill him in the Ideas (defence) exhibition in Karachi but we couldn’t succeed. The second time, we wanted to hit his aircraft with an RPG from Shah Sultan area outside the Chaklala base but we failed. The third time we planted explosives of about 150kg under the Jhanda Chichi bridge in Rawalpindi but that just missed his car.”

In the interview, Rashid also apparently hinted at the recent jailbreak to release terrorists. “I want to give them (prisoners) glad tiding that soon our brothers will strike on their cages to free them,” he said.

Comments (19) Closed

Kamran Aug 12, 2013 09:45am

Adnan still should be given death sentence based on his proclaimed role in killing of innocent citizens. How many people died in the jail breaks. How many people died in the assassination attempts. Who needs to be held accountable for all these deaths and justice to be given to the families.

Omair Aug 12, 2013 10:54am

These type of criminals should be executed after arrest. No courts should be required to deal with them.

alu khan Aug 12, 2013 10:54am

I say, send the drones. These barbarians need to be eliminated.

Zarghun Khan Aug 12, 2013 11:27am

This is clearly a news item placed by some hidden and institutional interest. It is a shame that a renowned paper like Dawn is forced to present a case the right of Lawyers and others to have an opinion opposed to the hidden hands. Demands for right of appeal in civilian courts is totally legitimate and is not tantamount to treason. In fact in truly democratic societies, the military and military courts are subordinate to civilian institutions. Alas this is not the case in Pakistan which has resulted in so much misery and probably will lead to collapse of the state.

Naseer Aug 12, 2013 11:34am

This shows how extremist bar itself has become. They supported the killer of Salman Taseer. It is a shame that they are called lawyers.

malik Aug 12, 2013 11:45am

So do these Bar and Ex Servicemen associations take any responsibility for what these escaped convicts are going to do? What rights do these convicts give us when they kill one of us and why should we be crying over their rights?

Faiza Aug 12, 2013 12:09pm

Nice payback from Adnan Rasheed to those who took to defending him and criticised the FGCM. The legal community is more interested in politics than law. If they were really concerned about rule of law then we should have seen some pushback from lawyers in last 3 years when SC decided to forgo any pretence of impartiality and went after PPP government with a vengeance.

Gerry D'Cunha Aug 12, 2013 01:31pm

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan

vigilant Aug 12, 2013 05:02pm

Nice work by bar associations.....i think all bar members must join them.

muhammad Aug 12, 2013 06:50pm

Please remember they (Taliban) do not accept the constitution and courts of Pakistan

muzammil ullah khan Aug 12, 2013 07:57pm

It goes to prove that we , the people of pakistan , are an emotional lot and very rarely sit down to think with a cool head . One day there will be a similar head line saying " All lawyers supported the reinstatement of Iftikhar Chowhdry as CJP" and this head line will appear when every one would realize the massive damage done by Iftikhar Chowdhry to the Supreme Court and the functioning of the court apart from other acts amounting to subverting the constitution by constantly interfering in the functioning of the government.

Syed Ahmed Aug 12, 2013 07:59pm

A few bar associations and the Ex-Servicemen

Qarar Ali Aug 12, 2013 08:39pm

Hang this infidel for killing innocent humans!

orish Aug 12, 2013 09:32pm

I am impressed by their competence and dedication to their cause whether right or wrong. Who can defeat them. Lets talk to them, lets have some give and take. After all they are our own people. Use them don't fight them.

Shahid Aug 12, 2013 09:59pm

Whole thing is wrong dont make two wrong when you caught killing be a man to confess

Yawar Aug 12, 2013 10:28pm

Suspected terrorists belonging to banned terrorist organizations should only be held in prison and tried court martial style by the military. They are enemies of Pakistan and should not have the right to appeal judgments given against them. Our civilian courts are too weak and constantly under threat and therefore not in position to impart justice. I cannot understand why we are so concerned about the rights of a terrorist when he has no concern for the lives of Pakistanis who do not agree with his interpretation of Islam.

Shahzad Aug 12, 2013 10:38pm

You've got to be kidding me! Where is this bar council leading the country to?

YA Aug 12, 2013 11:45pm

Why don't we hand over the government to them as well, that way they can change the law and be able to appeal their verdicts them selves. Pakistan Zinda Bhag......

imran Aug 13, 2013 09:12am

bar association must lockup the same bar.