Islamabad: Two Pakistani courts Monday suspended the execution of seven convicted terrorists citing various grounds even as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the country's attorney general to take legal steps to get such suspension orders revoked.
The Lahore High Court's (LHC) Rawalpindi bench Monday suspended the convictions of five prisoners who were handed the death penalty for involvement in an attack on an army camp in Gujrat in Punjab province in 2012.
The order came on a petition filed by the counsel of one of the convicted men.
Justice Arshad Mahmood Tabassum of the high court heard the petition filed by advocate Laiq Khan Swati, who told the court that his client Ahsan Azim was not provided with any information pertaining to the case, including the charge sheet, summary of evidence and trial proceedings, despite requests submitted earlier, Dawn online reported.
He added that his client's family members were suddenly told to hold a last meeting with the convict as he was going to be hanged.
Kamran, Umar Nadeem, Ahsan Azim, Amir Yousuf and Asif Idrees were handed out death sentences by a military court for their involvement in the attack on an army camp in Gujrat city in 2012, which had claimed the lives of at least seven security personnel.
Meanwhile, the Sindh High Court (SHC) also suspended the black warrants of two convicts observing that proper legal procedures were not followed.
The suspension of the warrants came after the SHC heard appeals filed by the families of Muhammad Azam and Ataullah alias Abdullah, who were members of banned organisations, The News International reported.
The appeals were heard by a bench headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar. The advocate general of Sindh and superintendent of jails appeared during the proceedings.
Justice Ali asked the superintendent of jails, Sindh, if he was aware of changes made in the death penalty laws, adding that if he was aware that the date of the execution is always set seven days after the black warrant is issued. Justice Ali asked that since the black warrant was issued Dec 18, how was the execution date set for Dec 23, when it should have been Dec 26.
Soon after the order by the LHC's Rawalpindi bench, Prime Minister Sharif directed the attorney general to take legal steps to get revoked the suspension order on death penalties of the five terrorists.
The prime minister has taken cognizance of the suspension and, according to his spokesperson, he has directed the attorney general to take legal steps to get revoked the suspension of the death penalty and re-evaluate pending terrorism cases.
Meanwhile, no execution of death row convict was carried out in Pakistan's Punjab province Monday, Geo News reported citing the country's interior ministry sources.
The mercy pleas of three death row inmates were sent to President Mamnoon Hussain. Two of the death row inmates were convicted for attacking military installations while the third was held guilty of carrying out an attack on a civilian target, sources added.
These convicts will be sent to the gallows after the president rejects their appeals, according to the ministry sources.
Six executions have been carried out in Punjab since the government last week decided the ban on death penalty would not apply for convicted terrorists.
Sharif Monday also chaired a high-level meeting on counter-terrorism, which decided to crush rising terrorism in the country with full force.
The meeting reviewed all existing anti-terror laws and decided to bring necessary amendments in order to toughen these laws, Dawn online reported.
The prime minister's Special Assistant Khawaja Zaheer and Law Secretary Barrister Zafarullah briefed the meeting about the existing anti-terror laws and pending cases before various courts.
The meeting also considered a proposal relating to establishment of special military courts for conducting speedy trials of terrorists.
According to interior ministry sources, 500 death row convicts have exhausted all their pleas and will be hanged in the coming days.
In Peshawar, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said Monday that the war on terror can be won through unity of the nation, Radio Pakistan reported.
The PTI chief demanded restoration of the original role to the Frontier Constabulary, legislation to ban illegal SIMs, better border management to regulate movement along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, immediate repatriation of illegal Afghan refugees, and firm plans for repatriation of the registered ones.
Imran Khan, during his Peshawar trip, visited the Army Public School where a Taliban attack Dec 16 left more than 140 students and teachers dead.