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RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Thursday approved death sentences of seven “hardcore terrorists” involved in the massacre at Peshawar’s Army Public School and an attack on soldiers of Sindh Rangers at Karachi’s Safoora Chowk, a statement released by the army’s media wing said.

This is the first approval of death sentences by the army chief following Supreme Court’s recent judgment giving legal cover to the establishment of military courts in the country.

The convicts, however, have the right to appeal, said the statement from the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

One terrorist has also been awarded life imprisonment, said the ISPR.

Political parties had unanimously agreed over the issue of setting up military courts to tackle terrorism cases in the country following the gruesome attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014, following which the Parliament passed the 21st constitutional amendment to set up the said courts.

Take a look: Political leaders reach consensus on military courts.

President Mamnoon Hussain had promulgated an ordinance further revising the recently amended Army Act to ostensibly aid the functioning of military courts by allowing for trials in camera, i.e without the presence of the public or the media, and over video link if necessary.

But the constitutional amendment giving legal cover to military courts was challenged in the Supreme Court, which upheld the Parliament's sovereignty and allowed military courts to try and sentence hardened terrorists.

Read: Military courts get Supreme Court nod.

The apex court did however keep the power to review sentences in certain cases, where it feels the condition of fair trial is not met.

Recently, following the SC's ruling, the father of a death-row convict Haider Ali, who received the sentence from a military court, challenged the ruling in the Supreme Court.

Details of ruling

The ISPR statement also issued details of the convicts and the crimes for which they were sentenced.

Civilian Hazrat Ali s/o Awal Baz: The convict was an active member of Toheedwal Jihad Group (TWJ). He was found involved in attacking law enforcement agencies, abetting kidnapping and killing of Levies soldiers and collecting funds for attack on Army Public School, Peshawar. He was also involved in killing 23 Levies soldiers. He admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on five charges and awarded the death sentence.

Civilian Mujeebur Rehman alias Ali alias NajeebUllah s/o Ghulab Jan: The convict was an active member of Toheedwal Jihad Group (TWJ). He was found involved in transporting 10 suicide bombers for the attack on Pakistan Air Force Base Peshawar. He was also involved in attacks on law enforcement agencies and abetment in the attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar, which resulted in the deaths of 151 persons including 125 children, injuries to 147 persons and damage to govt property. He admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on three charges and awarded the death sentence.

Civilian Sabeel alias Yahya s/o Atta Ullah: The convict was an active member of Toheedwal Jihad Group (TWJ). He was found involved in the attack on Pakistan Air Force Base, Peshawar; a Police check post, transportation of 10 suicide bombers and abetment in the attack on Army Public School, Peshawar, which resulted in the deaths of 151 persons including 125 children and injuries to 147 persons. He admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on three charges and awarded the death sentence.

Civilian Molvi Abdus Salam s/o Shamshi: The convict was an active member of Toheedwal Jihad Group (TWJ). He was found involved in harbouring suicide bombers, later used in the attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar, which resulted in the deaths of 151 persons including 125 children and injuries to 147 persons and damage to govt property. He was also involved in abetting deaths of two colonels and a civilian, Director of National Development Complex (NDC). He confessed to his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on four charges and awarded the death sentence.

Civilian Taj Muhammad alias Rizwan s/o Altaf Khan: The convict was an active member of TTP. He was found involved in attacking armed forces and harbouring suicide bombers, who were later used in the attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar, causing deaths of 151 persons including 125 children, injuries to 147 persons and abetting death of a civilian, Director of National Development Complex (NDC). He admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on five charges and awarded the death sentence.

Civilian Ateequr Rehman alias Usman s/o Ali Rehman: The convict was an active member of Toheedwal Jihad Group (TWJ). He was found involved in attacking a Crime Investigation Department Police Station, providing funds for illegal activities,abetting deaths of two colonels and a civilian, Director of National Development Complex (NDC). He abetted the attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar, which resulted in the deaths of 151 persons including 125 children and injuries to 147 persons. He admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on six charges and awarded the death sentence.

Civilian Kifayatullah alias Kaif Qari s/o Ghulam Haider: The convict was an active member of Toheedwal Jihad Group (TWJ). He was found involved in using improvised explosive devices at the residence of two civilians and transporting arms and ammunition. He had also been in league with the accused persons involved in the attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar. He admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on four charges and awarded imprisonment for life.

Civilian Muhammad Farhan alias Ali alias Abbas alias Aijaz Qadri: The convict was an active member of Jaish-e-Muhammad. He was found involved in the attack on soldiers of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, at Safoora Chowk, Karachi, using an improvised explosive device, which resulted in the deaths of three soldiers and injured four. He admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on two charges and awarded the death sentence.