ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that 20 persons who were arrested and jailed for their involvement in the May 9 violence have been released so that they could celebrate Eidul Fitr with their family, after they served major part of their sentence while the remaining period of their punishment was remitted by Chief of the Army Staff (COAS).

Among them, four belong to Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa while all other 16 hail from Punjab. They were released in the province of KP and Punjab on April 7 and 6, respectively.

The office of the Atto­rney General for Pakis­tan (AGP) furnished a list of 20 individuals before the Supreme Court to be made part of the record.

Earlier on March 28, a six-judge SC bench headed by Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan had modified its Dec 13, 2023 order that suspended the operation of its Oct 23 decision which nullified the military trial of civilians involved in the May 9 violence.

Accor­ding to the amended order, a direction was issued that military courts can commence trials but they will not convict or acquit any suspect until the pendency of government-instituted Intra-Court Appeals (ICAs).

Most of them served around 10 months in jail as the remaining period of their punishment was remitted by COAS

AGP Mansoor Usman Awan had told the SC that as per instructions 20 persons could be released before the coming Eid.

The report furnished before the SC stated that in pursuance to its March 28 directions, the military courts were allowed to resume trial and therefore sentences in cases of lesser punishments were handed down. It said 20 persons were awarded sentences of one year of which 17 have served a period of 10.5 months and three persons have served a period of 9.5 months.

While none of the persons have served out a full period of one year, upon confirmation of their sentence, the remaining period of their punishment was remitted by the COAS under Section 143(1)(i) of the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 (PAA).

The list of 20 persons whose punishment has been remitted and thus released before Eid was also provided along with the report for the perusal of the court. The statement made by the federal government be­fore the court on March 28 stood complied with the release of the 20 persons before Eid, the report said.

From Punjab, Moham­m­ad Idrees who spent 10 months and eight days in prison, Aswad Rajput who served 10 months and five days, Nadir Khan who served 10 months and six days, Yasir Aman who spent 10 months and nine days, and Sheharyar Zul­fiqar, Lal Shah, Abdur Reh­man and Mohammad Fai­sal who spent 10 months and eight days in prison had been awarded one-year imprisonment, but they were released after they were granted remissions, according to the report.

Likewise, Faisal Irshad and Hassan Shakir spent 10 months and four days in jail while Abdullah Aziz served nine months and 26 days. All three hail from Lahore.

From Gujranwala, Moham­mad Anas, Abdul Jabbar, Abdul Sattar, Mohammad Rashid and Rashid Ali were released after they spent more than 10 months in jail.

From Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s district of Dir, Umar Muhammad served 10 months and 10 days, Khalmat Khan spent 10 months and seven days in jail, while Ijaz-ul-Haq spent nine months and 23 days in prison. Shah Zeb who belongs to Mardan was released after he served nine months and 29 days in jail.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2024

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