Supreme Court halts Qari Zubair’s execution

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The Supreme Court of Pakistan has halted the execution of Qari Zubair who was awarded a death sentence by a military court for his alleged involvement in attacking a mosque in District Nowshera.

The top court issued notices to Attorney General and Special Prosecutor and sought the trial record of the accused Qari Zubair.

The top court also reserved its judgment on the five judicial reviews filed against military court sentences involving various accused in different terrorist activities after counsels for the petitioners and law officers representing the government concluded their arguments and rebuttals.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali on Monday resumed hearing in the 17 clubbed judicial reviews filed against conviction, awarded by military courts to persons allegedly involved in terrorist

Five judicial reviews were filed by the relatives of the accused who were awarded death sentences by military courts. The accused include Qari Zahir Gul, Haider Ali, Attiqur Rehman, Taj Muhammad alias Rizwan and Said Zaman Khan.

Likewise, the apex court also adjourned proceedings until next Monday, in the judicial reviews, filed by the accused including Jameelur Rehman, Aslam Khan, Nasir Khan and Taj Gul and sought their trial record.

During the course of hearing, Asma Jehangir, on behalf of one of the appellants Haider Ali in the matter, contended that the Baloch Regiment nabbed Ali on September 21, 2009 under ‘Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulation, 2011’ even though he was a juvenile.

She further said that Haider Ali’s custody was kept a secret till April 2015 when his family came to know through news clippings that the military court had awarded a death sentence to him whereas the Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Shareed had turned down his mercy appeal.

She alleged that due process of law was not observed in the matter under Article 10-A of the Constitution saying her client was not familiar with English language and knew only Pushto.

She submitted that the trial of her client was conducted in English which Asma Jahangir termed as being against the due process of law.

Additional Attorney General Attiq Shah, however, in his rebuttal submitted that the due process of law was observed saying all such points had been raised before the Peshawar High Court.

He informed that that Haider Ali did not fall under the definition of a juvenile because he was born in 1998.

Similarly, Abdul Latif Afridi, counsel for Attique Rehman informed the court that his client was serving in Wah Ordinance Factory, adding that the law enforcement agency apprehended him from Nowshera on December 6, 2014
while he was accompanying his family.

Afridi said that his client was awarded a death sentence by the military for his alleged involvement in the attack on Army Public School Peshawar.

He contended that the brutal attack on the APS took place on December 16, 2014 but his client was apprehended for alleged facilitation to the attackers 10 days before the incident.

He said that the accused should have been produced before the District Magistrate Nowshera as he was arrested from the same district but his confession statement was recorded before the District Magistrate Charsadda.

Latif Afridi submitted that the trial was not conducted fairly on three grounds including malafide, corum non judice and without jurisdiction, adding that the conviction was prima facie without jurisdiction because there must be some evidence brought before the trial court against the accused.

Additional Attorney General Attique Shah however, rejected the arguments of the accused’s counsel saying due process of law was followed in the matter.

“Is it not a fair trial that the accused Attique Rehman came before the court and pleaded guilty,” Attiq Shah questioned.

“Such kind of trial cannot be considered as fair or transparent”, Afridi contended AAG Attiq Shah in response to Afridi, submitted that during the gathering of facts and evidence against the accused it was disclosed that he was also involved in other heinous crimes, adding that he was convicted after conducting a cross examination and collecting solid evidences fairly.

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