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PESHAWAR: A single-member Peshawar High Court bench on Monday stayed the execution of a terror convict and suspended his death sentence awarded by a military court over involvement in the 2013 Mardan funeral bombing.

Thirty people, including an MPA, were killed in the suicide attack.

Justice Syed Afsar Shah issued notices to the respondents, including defence and interior ministries and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa home department, on a petition of Dir resident Zawar Khan, who challenged the conviction of his paternal uncle, Gul Faraz Khan, in the case.

After preliminary hearing into the petition, the bench sought records of the case and adjourned proceedings until Sept 18.

The Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of Pakistan Army, had announced on May 5, 2018, that the chief of army staff had confirmed the death sentences awarded to 11 hardcore terrorists by the military courts, including the convict in question.

It had added that three of the convicts, including Burhanuddin, Shaheer Khan and Gul Faraz Khan, were members of a proscribed organisation and that they were involved in attacking the funeral ceremony of civilian Abdullah in Zargrano Killi area of Sher Ghar, Mardan, in June 2013, which had killed 30 people, including MPA Imran Khan Mohmand.

The ISPR said the convicts confessed to their offences before the magistrate and trial court.

Shabbir Hussain Gigyani, lawyer for the petitioner, said the convict belonged to Dir district and used to work at a brick kiln of Urmer area in Peshawar before he was taken away by security agencies in 2013.

He added that the convict remained missing until he was traced in Kohat internment centre, where family members later met him several times.

BAIL GRANTED: The bench also granted bail to a man suspected of abducting and sexually abusing a woman asking him to furnish two surety bonds valuing Rs50,000 each.

Counsel for the petitioner Subhanuddin said initially, the father-in-law of the alleged assault victim had accused his client of her abduction and lodged a report with the Mardan police but later, the woman’s father had registered an FIR with the police accusing her in-laws of selling her to the petitioner. He said the police had recovered the woman from Sargodha.

The lawyer said the woman’s medical examination didn’t confirm sexual abuse and that the prosecution had also not conducted the DNA of the petitioner and woman though it was mandatory under the law in sexual assault cases.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2018