PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday issued a stay order against the execution of a convicted militant and suspended the sentence of death awarded to him by a military court on different counts of terrorism.

Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Lal Jan Khattak issued notice to the defence ministry seeking records of the case of convict Javed Khan, whose wife Rubeena Javed has filed a petition with the court against his conviction.

After preliminary arguments, the bench suspended the impugned conviction and fixed Dec 1 for the next hearing into the petition.

The conviction of Javed Khan was made public by the Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of Pakistan Army, on Nov 7, 2016, in a news release.

The ISPR had stated in the release that the chief of the army staff had confirmed the sentences of death awarded to none of hardcore militants.

It hadn’t mentioned when and where the trials were conducted.

About Javed Khan, the ISPR had claimed that he was an active member of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

It added that the convict was involved in the killing of innocent civilian, attacking law-enforcement agencies and armed forces of Pakistan, which had resulted in death of civilian Raheemullah and sepoys Naseer Ahmad and Bacha Hasan.

“He (Javed Khan) was also involved in slaughtering of Havildar Hazrat Ghani. He was found in possession of fire-arms and explosives,” the ISPR had said, adding that the convict had admitted his offences before the magistrate and trial court.

The military courts have so far sentenced around 121 people to death, whereas four were awarded life imprisonment.

Sahibzada Asadullah, lawyer for the petitioner, said the convict was not provided with a fair trial, which was mandatory under the Constitution.

He said the petitioner belonged to Malakand Agency and her husband Javed Khan was taken into custody from his hujra by the security forces and personnel of Malakand Levies on Dec 4, 2011.

The lawyer said after his arrest, the convict was kept incommunicado and a habeas corpus petition was filed in the high court by the petitioner.

He said the high court had issued directives to the station house officer of the police station concerned to conduct an inquiry into his disappearance and to submit the report to the court. The lawyer said the security and law-enforcement agencies had expressed ignorance about his detention.

He said finally on Nov 8, the petitioner came to know through newspapers that her husband had been convicted by a military court and was sentenced to death.

A day earlier, a bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel had also suspended death sentences of four other military court convicts.

Their convictions were also made public by the ISPR on Nov 7.

The four convicts including Umar Saeed, Zahid Khan, Rahmat and Bakht Wali belong to Khyber Agency.

The former is stated to be a member of the TTP, whereas the other three belong to Lashkar-i-Islam, a Bara-based militant outfit.

Until now, several of the military courts’ convicts have approached the high court but they failed to get relief against their convictions.

The appeals of several petitioners have also been turned down by the Supreme Court. Currently, their review petitions are pending with the apex court.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2016