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PESHAWAR: A single-member Peshawar High Court bench has set aside the conviction of a suspected militant by the administration of Mohmand tribal district and granted him bail in a case of waging war against the state.

Justice Ikramullah Khan accepted a petition of convict Sabir Awan seeking cancellation of the 20 years imprisonment awarded by the Mohmand administration.

While asking the petitioner to produce two surety bonds of Rs400,000 each, the bench remanded his case to the recently-appointed additional district and sessions judge of Mohmand district for retrial.

The petitioner claimed that he was a seventh grader when he was taken into custody by security forces in 2012.

Orders his release on bail, retrial by Mohmand court

He was convicted by the political administration of Mohmand district last year, while his trial was carried out under the Fata Interim Governance Regulation.

The petitioner was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment under sections 121 and 121-A of Pakistan Penal Code, which deals with the waging of war against the state.

His lawyer, Rasheed Mohmand, said the petitioner was taken into custody by security forces on the charges of being part of a proscribed organisation and carrying out attacks against them.

He said his client remained missing for many years before he was handed over to the administration of Mohmand tribal district.

The lawyer said a so-called trial was conducted under the FIGR and that the administration had referred the matter to a council of elders.

He said while there existed no evidence against the petitioner, the council of elders relied only on the report of the joint investigation team and declared that it would not be appropriate to turn down the JIT report.

The lawyer said the JIT report clearly mentioned that no documentary and circumstantial evidence were available against the petitioner and that the findings were only based on the disclosures made by the petitioner.

He added that the administration convicted his client under sections 121 and 121-A PPC without having any evidence.

The lawyer produced educational certificates of the petitioner to prove that he was a student and had no links with any proscribed organisation.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2019