ISLAMABAD: The army said on Thursday that its chief Gen Raheel Sharif had ratified death sentence awarded to six Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants by military courts.

“Army Chief confirms death sentence of six hardcore terrorists tried by the recently established military courts,” military spokesman Maj Gen Asim Bajwa said in a twitter posting.

This is the first batch of terrorists sentenced by the military courts. The military, however, did not disclose when the sentencing was done and in which case.

Seven ‘terrorists’ affiliated with the TTP had been tried by the military courts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and six of them were given death sentence while the seventh was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Those awarded death penalty were identified as Noor Saeed, Haider Ali, Murad Khan, Inayatullah, Israr­uddin and Qari Zahir. A convict identified by single name of Abbas got life sentence. Most of these terrorists are at present detained in internment centres in tribal areas established under Actions in Aid of Civil Power Regulations, 2011.

Although there was no mention of the terrorism incident in which the convicts were involved, the ISPR only disclosed the charges under which they had been tried.

“Seven hardcore terrorists were involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism, manslaughter, suicide bombing, abduction for ransom and colossal damage to life and property,” it said.

The death and life sentences for the convicts were because “of the nature and gravity of offences” committed by them, the military’s public affairs division said. The convicts, it said, had the right to appeal before a military court of appeals.

The army has set up nine courts – three each in KP and Punjab, two in Sindh and one in Balochistan. In the first phase, the courts were assigned 12 terrorism-related cases.

The interior ministry forwarded 39 cases to the army for trial by military courts. The trials had started in mid-Feb.

The military courts were backed by the political leadership under the National Action Plan on counter-terrorism formulated in December after the Peshawar school attack in which 150 students and staff lost their lives.

Parliament later amended the Constitution and the Army Act to pave the way for the establishment of the military courts for a period of two years.

The provincial apex committees comprising the civilian and military leadership of the four provinces select terrorism cases and forward them to the interior ministry which after vetting sends them to the army.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2015

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