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9 militants to hang as Pak army chief confirms death penalty


Islamabad :  Nine “hardcore terrorists” are set to be hanged in Pakistan after the army chief today confirmed the death sentences handed down to them by military courts for terror-related offences, including sectarian killings and an attack on ISI headquarters in Multan.

Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif confirmed the death sentences of nine men convicted by military courts, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said, three days after Pakistan executed four militants involved in suicide bombing, slaughtering of people and attacks on soldiers.

The men termed as “hardcore terrorists” by ISPR were sentenced for offences relating to terrorism, including an attack on the Parade Lane mosque, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Headquarters in Multan, attacks on law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and kidnapping and murder of civilians in Lahore.

The terrorists whose death sentences have been confirmed included Muhammad Ghauri, Abdul Qayyum and Aksan Mehboob.

Ghauri, an active member of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and TTP media cell in-charge, was involved in the attack on Parade Lane Mosque, Rawalpindi, in which 38 people were killed and 57 injured. He admitted his offences before a magistrate and trial court. He was tried on four charges and awarded a death sentence, the statement said.

Also sentenced were Harkatul Jehad-e-Islam activist Qayyum, who was involved in the attack on ISI Headquarters, Multan, in which seven people were killed and 72 injured. He was tried on seven charges and awarded the death sentence.

Mehboob, an active member of al-Qaeda, was also convicted for involvement in attacks on LEAs with fire-arms, killing and injuring soldiers. He admitted his offences before a magistrate and trial court. He was tried on four charges and awarded a death sentence.

Another terrorist named Imran was sentenced for involvement in terrorist acts and attacks on LEAs, killing and injuring civilians and soldiers.

Five other terrorists — members of the Sunni sectarian outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan — who had killed five Shiites in the eastern city of Lahore, were also sentenced to death.

Military courts were set up in Pakistan to expedite the trial process for terror-related offences following the December 2014 Taliban’s massacre at an army-run school in Peshawar in which over 150 people, mostly school children, were killed.

Following the attack, the government had lifted the moratorium on the death penalty and the Parliament passed the 21st amendment which established military courts which was challenged in the Supreme Court. The apex court ruled in favour of setting up of the courts in August last year.

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