The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the appeals filed by three convicted militants of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) against the 14-year prison sentence handed down to each of them.
A trial court had sentenced Asif Shiraz, Haji Habib and Niaz Been to 14 years in prison after finding them guilty of possessing explosives. The Peshawar High Court had upheld the punishment, which has now been endorsed by the apex court.
The convicts had also opened fire on police personnel during a raid on their hideout. Cases had been registered against the trio at a police station in Peshawar.
An SC bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed on Wednesday that the convicts had been arrested red-handed while in possession of 840 kilogrammes of explosives, while their affiliation with the TTP had been proven.
Justice Khosa noted that one of the three convicts, Haji Habib, had died while in custody.
The counsel for the convicts contended before the court that one of the three men was underaged when he was arrested and suggested that he should be pardoned.
But Justice Khosa observed that while the first mistake is considered to be the last mistake the world over, the trend in Pakistan is such that an offence should be forgiven if it's the first by an accused.
"The culture of 'let it go' is actually the licence to commit the second mistake," the senior judge remarked.
The convicts' counsel then argued that the substance recovered from his clients at the time of arrest was gunpowder, not explosive material.
"Would you rather that talcum powder had been recovered from the convicts?" Justice Khosa retorted.
While observing that technical flaws are inconsequential in cases related to terrorists, the court subsequently upheld the 14-year prison sentence for the convicted militants.