The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed implementation of a military court verdict through which 14 convicts were handed life in prison.

A three-member bench, headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, heard the appeal filed by the convicts against the judgement.

The 14 men had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the military court after being convicted of involvement in the killing of two Rangers personnel in Gilgit in 2005.

The convicts had challenged the verdict in the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court, which had thrown out the appeal on the grounds that they did not fall within its jurisdiction.

The men had then approached the apex court against the high court's ruling.

While accepting the combined appeal for hearing, the apex court stayed implementation on the military court verdict and issued notices to all parties.

The application has named the federation, the interior ministry, the defence ministry, the army chief, the corps commander (10 corps) and others as respondents.

The 14 convicts had been accused of opening fire on Rangers officials in Gilgit in 2005, which had resulted in the killing of two personnel.

Military courts

Military courts were disbanded on January 7, 2017, after the expiration of a sunset clause included in the legal provisions under which the tribunals were established.

However, on March 31, President Mamnoon Hussain gave his formal assent to the Pakistan Army Act 2017 and the 23rd Constitutional Amendment Bill ─ the two pieces of legislation aimed at granting legal cover to military courts ─ after they were cleared by the parliament.

The courts were subsequently revived for two years and given legal cover from the day of their disbandment.



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