Peshawar High Court sets aside conviction of ‘militant’

Updated May 18, 2019

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A judge's hammer is seen in this file photo. — Reuters/File
A judge's hammer is seen in this file photo. — Reuters/File

PESHAWAR: Setting aside his conviction in the erstwhile Fata by an assistant political agent, the Peshawar High Court has acquitted a man on the charges of waging war and taking up arms against the state.

A bench consisting of Justice Ikramullah Khan and Justice Musarrat Hilali accepted an appeal of convict Karim Khan of Jamrud area in Khyber tribal district, who was arrested few years ago on the charge of being a member of the defunct Lashkar-i-Islam.

He was later convicted by the Jamrud APA on Oct 25, 2017, and was sentenced to life imprisonment under the Pakistan Penal Code’s sections 121 (waging war against the state), 121-A (conspiracy to wage war) and 122 (taking up arms against the state).

Shabbir Hussain Gigyani, lawyer for the appellant, said his client was arrested by security forces several years ago and had remained in their illegal custody before he was handed over to the then administration of Khyber region and was tried under the now repealed Frontier Crimes Regulation.

The lawyer said there were no specific allegations of terrorism against the appellant and that a joint investigation team had asked the administration to convict him without producing any evidence in that respect.

Acquits Khyber resident on charge of waging war against state

He said a council of elders set up under Section 11 of FCR had also in its findings relied only on the JIT’s statement instead of giving any independent findings.

The lawyer said there were scores of such cases as when the arrested suspects were not found to be involved in any particular offence, they were handed over to the administrations in different tribal districts, who convicted them despite having no evidence of their wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, a single-member bench acquitted two appellants in different cases.

Justice Ikramullah accepted appeals of convicts Ziaul Haq and Chinar Gul, both residents of Jamrud, who were convicted by the APA on the charge of having links with a proscribed organisation and were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment each.

Lawyer Gigyani said his clients were taken into custody by the security forces and had remained missing.

He said after remaining in illegal detention for few years, the appellants were handed over to the tribal administration.

The lawyer said no evidence was produced against his clients and that only a ‘generalised’ allegation of them being members of a proscribed organisation was leveled against them.

BAIL: Justice Ikramullah Khan of a single-member high court bench granted bail to a child charged with smuggling 15kg heroin in a car in Khyber tribal district.

The petitioner’s counsel said the Khasadar force had claimed to recovered the contraband from the secret cavities of a car driven by his client on Oct 17, 2017.

He said around two years had passed but the trial of the petitioner hadn’t concluded leaving his client behind bars.

The lawyer said the petitioner was entitled to be freed on bail under the Juvenile Justice System Act.

He said the personnel of the Khasadar force didn’t fulfil the basic requirement of testing the recovered contraband.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2019