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PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday stopped execution of two militancy convicts by suspending their death sentences awarded by a military court.

The bench of Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Abdul Shakoor issued notices to the defence and interior ministries for responding to two separate petitions filed by close relatives of the two convicts named Pir Syed Amir Faisal and Mohammad Asif challenging their convictions by the military court on account of their involvement in acts of terrorism.

The bench sought records of the cases and fixed Jan 31 for the next hearing.

Issues notices to ministries, fixes next hearing for Jan 31

The petition against conviction of Amir Faisal is filed by his son Syed Hamza Faisal, whereas son of Mohammad Asif named Mohammad Yasir has challenged conviction of his father.

Advocates Shabir Hussain Gigyani appeared for the petitioners and contended that the convict Amir Faisal was picked up by the security agencies from his house in Hangu district on Nov 4, 2011, after which he had remained missing.

He stated that on the order of the Inquiry Commission on Enforced Disappearances, an FIR was registered at police station Hangu under section 365 of Pakistan Penal Code regarding his kidnapping. Subsequently, he stated that a writ petition was also filed in the high court against his alleged illegal detention in 2012 and finally the government admitted his presence at an internment centre in Kohat.

He pointed out that the relatives had met him at the internment centre. He stated that recently when the relatives went to the centre they were informed that Amir Faisal had been sentenced to death by the military court and he had been shifted to Mardan Central Prison.

Similarly, about the convict, Mohammad Asif, he said the convict was a resident of Sro Kalae area in Shabqadar tehsil and was picked up by the security forces from his residence on Jun 9, 2016. He stated that an FIR was also registered against his illegal detention at police station Shabqadar.

Later, he stated, the government admitted his confinement at Kohat Internment Centre. He stated that when the relatives recently visited the internment centre they had spotted a list displayed there wherein the names of internees convicted by the military courts were mentioned.

The counsel stated that the relatives were told that the convicts had been shifted to Mardan Central Prison. He pointed out that now when the relatives had visited Mardan prison, the authorities had not been allowing their meeting with the convict.

He argued that in both the cases the relatives did not know when they were convicted and for what offences.

He argued that it was clear that the convicts were not given a fair trial and even their close relatives were not aware about the court proceedings.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019