Military Court in Pakistan sentences 7 civilians to Death


RAWALPINDI: Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Thursday signed the death warrants of seven “hardcore terrorists”, said a statement released from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). However, a quick look at their background suggests that many of these were caught for minor crimes.

Interestingly, this decision to extra-judiciously kill 7 rebels came on the same day Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif attacked India in the UN on the death of Kashmiri terrorist Burhan Wani.

These convicts were tried by a military court, with civilian judicial system having no say in the process.

In 2015, 326 people were executed in Pakistan, 13 times more than the US, as against just 1 in India. Most of them were killed by hastily set-up Military courts on orders of Pakistan Army General.

“They were also involved in sectarian killings. Firearms and explosives were also recovered from their possession,” said the ISPR statement.

Details of the convicts

  • Mohammad Qasim Tori, Abid Ali and Mohammad Danish – Attacks on law enforcement, possession of firearms and explosives. Members of proscribed organisation.

  • Syed Jehangir Haider and Zeeshan – Involved in sectarian killings and attacks of law enforcement. Possession of firearms and explosives.

  • Mutabar Khan and Rehman Ud Din – Attacks on armed forces, law enforcement and peace committee members. Possession of firearms and explosives. Members of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The ISPR statement said the convicts have ‘admitted’ their offences in the trial court.

Military courts

military courts are set up for trying not just military personnel but also civilians under amendments made to the Constitution and the Army Act.

President Mamnoon Hussain had also promulgated an ordinance further revising the recently amended Army Act to ostensibly aid the functioning of military courts by allowing for trials in camera, i.e without the presence of the public or the media, and over video link if necessary.

The Supreme Court in a majority ruling upheld the establishment of military courts in Pakistan.

Petitions challenging the 21st amendment were dismissed in August this year in a majority 11-6 vote of the 17-member SC bench. Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk and Justice Dost Muhammad announced the verdict.

In a 14-3 majority vote, petitions challenging the 18th amendment were also dismissed by the bench. Judges provided seven opinions and two additional notes on the ruling.