Army chief signs death warrants of six convicts

Updated December 19, 2014

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Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif. —Photo by ISPR
Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif. —Photo by ISPR

ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif approved on Thursday the execution of six terrorists sentenced to death by military courts.

“Chief of Army Staff today signed death warrants of 6 hardcore terrorists (pending execution) convicted by Field General Court Martial in accordance with law,” the Director General, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj Gen Asim Bajwa, said in a late-night twitter posting.

The announcement came a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that moratorium on execution had been lifted.

Read: Nawaz removes moratorium on death penalty

The army withheld the names of the convicts, whose execution has been approved by the army chief, on security grounds.

The army, a source claimed, decided to notify the names once the executions have taken place.

“The six cases cleared for execution had legal procedures completed,” a military spokesman said.

Convicts in cases relating to the GHQ attack, Jhanda Chichi, Pervez Musharraf attack and attack on a military camp near River Chenab (Gujrat) have received death sentences by the Field General Court Martial under the Army Act.

Also read: Militant siege of Peshawar school ends, 141 killed

A source confirmed that Aqeel alias Dr Usman, the lone convict in the GHQ attack case, was among the six, whose black warrants had been signed. Aqeel is currently in the Faisalabad Jail.

The other five could include the group involved in the attack on Pervez Musharraf, whose review petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court almost a fortnight ago.

They had sought review of their cases after the Supreme Court in 2013 quashed death sentences of two other convicts in the same case, Rana Naveed and Amir Sohail. The two were initially given jail sentences by a military court, but the punishment was later enhanced to death sentence by Army Court of Appeal.

The five were Naik Arshad Mehmood, Zubair Ahmed (civilian), Rasheed Qureshi (civilian), Ghulam Sarwar Bhatti (civilian) and Akhlaq Ahmed (a Russian citizen). They have also been kept in the Faisalabad Jail.

But a separate source claimed that convicts in the Gujrat military camp attack — Kamran, Ahsan Azim and Umar Nadeem, currently lodged in Lahore Jail — were also on the execution list.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2014