Mother claims Death-Row Cleric Son to be an IDP, Challenges Military Court Sentence
PESHAWAR: A woman filed a case in Peshawar High Court challenging the death sentence awarded to her son by a military court for terrorism, claiming he was an internally displaced person (IDP) from Bajaur Agency and a prayer leader at Jalozai camp.
Anwar Bibi filed a petition saying security forces had taken her son, Qari Zahir Gul, into custody in 2011 and later, she learned that he was shifted to an internment centre in Khar area of Bajaur Agency.
Last year, the convict’s brother, Waheed Gul, had moved the high court seeking permission to meet the detainee, who was not convicted at that time.
That petition has been pending with the court, which is to hear it on Sept 9, whereas the convict has been kept in Timergara district prison.
The petitioner, Anwar Bibi, has requested the high court that on acceptance of her petition, the proceedings of the military court, if any, on the basis of which the detainee had been convicted and sentenced to death may be declared void, illegal and without lawful authority.
She prayed the court to direct respondents, including interior and defence secretaries to submit complete challan of his case before the court having jurisdiction in the matter for further proceedings.
The petitioner has cited several provisions of the Constitution as well as other laws in support of her contention saying provisions of military courts were not applicable to her son.
The ISPR, media wing of the Pakistan Army, had announced on April 2 that the military chief had confirmed death sentence awarded to six hardened terrorists tried by the recently established military courts.
Without naming names and the offences in which they were found involved, the ISPR had also said convicts were involved in the heinous acts of terrorism, manslaughter, suicide bombing, and damage to public life and property.
Later, the six sentenced to death were identified in the media as Noor Saeed, Haider Ali, Murad Khan, Inayatullah, Israruddin and Qari Zahir.
Mother of convict Haider Ali, Bacha Laiqa, had challenged his conviction before the high court around a week ago.
Hailing from Swat, the woman claimed her son was a 10th grader, who had passed his ninth grade board examination in Swat with ‘A’ Grade and was a juvenile when he was handed over to security forces in 2009.
In the wake of the Dec 2014 Peshawar Army Public School carnage, the military courts were set up for trying terrorists under amendments made to the Constitution and the Army Act.
Recently, on Aug 13 to be exact, the ISPR announced conviction of eight other militants out of which seven were sentenced to death by military courts.
In the petition filed through lawyer Malik Mohammad Ajmal Khan, Anwar Bibi claimed her son was one of the Bajaur military operation’s victims as he was displaced from home and that he’d worked as prayer leader at Jalozai camp for seven or eight months before he was taken into custody by security forces.
She said her son remained missing and when a petition was filed in 2012, it was disposed of by the high court due to his shifting to an internment centre in Bajaur Agency.
The petitioner said when she and other relatives approached the head of the internment centre for permission to see the detainee, they were denied visitation rights prompting her son, Waheed Gul, to file another petition, which has still been pending with the high court.
She claimed through media reports, she had learned that her son had been convicted and sentenced to death by a military court.
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