SC accepts appeals against acquittal of 74 convicts by PHC

Published November 3, 2018
A view of the Supreme Court of Pakistan building in Islamabad. —File photo
A view of the Supreme Court of Pakistan building in Islamabad. —File photo

The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday approved the hearing of appeals filed by the federal government against the Peshawar High Court's (PHC) decision to set aside the punishments awarded to 74 convicts by military courts in various cases of terrorism.

In addition to this, the top court has stayed the release of the alleged terrorists, until a written order is issued after hearing the appeals which were filed by the Ministry of Defence.

The appeals submitted by the attorney general state that the acquitted convicts were "involved in serious acts of terrorism" and that the Peshawar High Court (PHC) had "ordered their release without considering the facts".

The petitions further request that the PHC ruling be declared void and the military court's decision be reinstated.

On October 18, the PHC set aside the punishments awarded to the 74 convicts by military courts.

Accepting their appeals against the military courts' verdicts, a two-member bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Lal Jan Khattak had overturned the death and life sentences that were handed to the convicts.

The court had overturned their sentences after concluding that the charges against the accused had not been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Though a short order, the bench had, at that time, ordered that the convicts be released. Nearly 50 of them had been sentenced to death, while the rest were awarded jail terms.

Friday's hearing at the apex court was conducted by a two-member bench headed by Justice Shaikh Azmat Saeed. The court issued orders to all the parties involved and adjourned the hearing till an unspecified date.

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