KARACHI: The authorities in Sindh have decided to send to military courts eight cases against nine suspected militants who are awaiting trial in various courts. Among the cases is one pertaining to a bomb attack in June 2013 on the convoy of Justice Maqbool Baqar, who was then a judge of the Sindh High Court and currently is a judge of the Supreme Court.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) through a letter of Nov 6 informed the additional chief secretary of the home department that a list of the cases was placed before the acting chief justice and he accepted the request to transfer the cases and custody of the accused to military courts.

Five of the eight cases are pending in anti-terrorism courts in Karachi and Sukkur and three in sessions courts of south and west districts of Karachi.

The SHC has directed the judges of the trial courts to transfer original files of the cases to military courts after retaining their attested copies.

The provincial authorities had sent dozens of cases to the federal government for approval for trial in military courts and the latter sanctioned eight cases.

The military courts were established after parliament passed in January the 21st Amendment and amendments to the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, following the massacre in the Army Public School in Peshawar in December last year. Later, the Supreme Court endorsed the establishment of military courts.

Accused nominated in the cases are: Masoom Bila, Mohammad Muavia, Yasir Irfat, Mohammad Qasim Toori, Danish alias Talha, Abid Ali, Mohammad Asif alias Abdullah alias Hanzullah and Saadat Hussain and Yaseen alias Hakeem, all said to be belonging to the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Masoom, Muavia and Yasir with their absconding accomplices have been booked for their alleged involvement in a bomb attack on the motorcade of Justice Baqar, the then senior puisne judge of the SHC and now a judge of the Supreme Court, near Burns Road in Karachi in June 2013.

Nine people -- six policemen, two Rangers personnel and the driver of the judge -- were killed and 12 others, including Justice Baqar, suffered injuries in the attack.

Rizwan alias Asif Chotu, Atta-ur-Rehman alias Naeem Bukhari, Sajid and Qari Khalil are absconding accused in the case.

Qasim Toori, Danish and Abid have been charged with allegedly killing two policemen and injuring as many in a shootout with police and other law enforcing agencies in Shah Latif Town, Karachi, in Jan 2008. Four militants were also killed in the encounter.

Asif, Saadat and Yaseen have been booked on the charge of killing Munir Hussain and his wife Razia Hussain on sectarian grounds in a New Karachi locality in Nov 2013.

Moreover, Asif and Saadat have also been nominated in a murder attempt and police encounter case. Asif has been booked in one and Saadat in three illicit weapons cases after the Crime Investigation Department of police claimed to have arrested them and found unlicensed weapons in their custody following a shootout on Dec 20, 2013.

Besides the main case, the four connected cases against Asif and Saadat are also being sent to military courts.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2015

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