ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed execution of six militants convicted by the military courts on terror charges.
The 17-judge full court bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk heard the case.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) had requested the apex court to pass an interim order staying execution of the condemned prisoners. Noor Saeed, Haider Ali, Murad Khan, Inayatullah, Israruddin and Qari Zahir.
The convicts were condemned to death on April 2, by the military courts, established through a constitutional amendment under the National Action Plan.
“It is, therefore, respectfully prayed that this court be pleased to pass an interim order staying execution of the persons sentenced to death by the military courts under the jurisdiction extended to it by the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act 2015, till final disposal of its petition,” the SCBA said.
“The execution of military courts’ death sentences, those which have already been awarded and those which will be awarded, is suspended,” Chief Justice Nasir ul Mulk remarked.
Those convicted by military courts could appeal against their sentences, he added.
According to the short order, the death warrants of terror convicts awarded by the military courts in the future will also be suspended.
The petition was filed by former president SCBA Asma Jehangir on behalf of the SCBA. She requested the court to halt the implementation of death sentences awarded by military courts until a 17-judge full court took up challenges pertaining to the 21st constitutional amendment, especially the establishment of military courts.
Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt expressing reservation over the apex court’s decision said the trial of the convicts in the military courts was not a secret crime and a complete procedure was adopted.
“Prisoners have the right to appeal against the black warrants under the Pakistan Army Act 1952,” he said and added that the convicts were involved in several serious crimes.
Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk said the trial of the convicts was not made public, while it was just death sentences that were made public. Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that there is a procedure to confirm death warrants of convicts.
The hearing of the case was adjourned till April 22.