ISLAMABAD: A Navy tribunal sentenced five officers to death in the Sept 6, 2014, Karachi Naval Dockyard attack case, father of one of the convicts said on Monday.

Retired Major Saeed Ahmed told Dawn that in a trial his son, Sub-Lieutenant Hammad Ahmed, and four other naval officers had been convicted of the naval dockyard attack that took place on Defence Day around two years ago.

He said the five were charged with having links with the militant Islamic State group, mutiny, hatching a conspiracy and carrying weapons in the dockyard.

However, according to media reports, the attackers were purportedly planning to hijack the warship PNS Zulfiqar to use it in an attack on one of the US navy’s refuel ships. Two militants were killed and four others were apprehended by security personnel.

Mr Saeed said that the naval authorities did not provide his son the right to a fair trial.

“I wrote a letter to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the navy on August 15, 2015, asking him to provide the opportunity of a defence counsel to my son,” he said. “The navy JAG on Sept 21 replied that the option of defence counsel would be available at the time of trial.”

Mr Saeed said that he was waiting for the commencement of the trial when someone recently informed him that his son had been shifted to the Karachi central prison.

The retired army officer came to know about the conclusion of the trial and capital punishment when he went to Karachi and met his son and his four colleagues — Irfanullah, Muhammad Hammad, Arsalan Nazeer and Hashim Naseer — in prison.

“My son told me that a naval court had awarded death penalty to him and four other officers after a secret trial,” he claimed. “The convicted officers informed me that the naval court concluded the trial on April 12 and promulgated the sentence on April 14.”

He said that naval authorities did not provide him copies of the proceedings of the trial when he approached them for the same.

The convict’s father said that he would file an appeal against the judgement before the naval court of appeal.

He claimed that his son and others had been made scapegoats, as this was not the first time when such security lapses came to light.

He said the five officers had been in the navy for only four to five years and they were not capable of seizing a warship and using it for a banned outfit.

In July 2015, the naval authorities informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that a ‘missing’ sub-lieutenant, Hafiz Ehsanullah Sajjad, was in their custody in connection with the naval dockyard attack case.

Safia Ismail, the wife of the ‘missing’ officer, had filed a petition before the IHC stating that her husband was detained by the navy without any charge. She said that he was taken away from his residence in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Karachi, by “some people in plain clothes on the evening of Sept 6, 2014”.

She said that her father, who was also a retired Navy officer, had tried to ascertain his whereabouts but to no avail.

Meanwhile, officials of the Pakistan Navy’s directorate of public relations were not available when Dawn tried to contact them for official confirmation.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2016

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