Pakistan News

18 cases being sent to military courts for trial

18 cases being sent to military courts for trial

KARACHI: The Sindh government is set to send 18 cases, including the Safoora Goth bus carnage and Sabeen Mahmud murder cases, to military courts for trial, it emerged on Saturday.

The remaining cases are against five suspects of the bus carnage, killing of policemen, attempted murder and carrying of explosive substances and unlicensed weapons.

On an application of the provincial authorities, the Sindh High Court through a letter informed the Sindh government that the chief justice had acceded to its request to transfer the cases and custody of the accused persons to military courts.

The cases have been pending trial before two antiterrorism courts of Karachi and the SHC also directed the trial court judges to hand over the original files of the cases to the authorities concerned for trial in military courts.

The provincial authorities had sent the cases to the federal government for scrutiny and approval for trial in military courts and on Dec 9 the latter approved 18 cases.

Parliament passed in January the 21st constitutional amendment to establish the military courts after the massacre in the Army Public School, Peshawar, in December last year. Around 15 cases from Sindh have already been sent to military courts.

Meanwhile, the provincial home department also sought record and proceedings/original files and case properties from the prosecutors of ATC- VI & VII, where the cases are pending for further action.

Around 45 Shia Ismaili community members, including 18 women, were killed and eight others wounded in an armed attack on their bus near Safoora Goth on May 13.

Tahir Hussain Minhas, alias Sain, a construction entrepreneur, and the alleged mastermind of the bus attack, Saad Aziz, alias Tin Tin, a business graduate alleged to have filmed the brutal attack, and Asad-ur-Rehman, alias Malik, who allegedly backed up the attackers, have been charge-sheeted for their direct involvement in the bus carnage case.

Hafiz Nasir, alias Yasir, and Mohammad Azhar Ishrat, alias Majid, were named for allegedly providing accommodation, funds and reconnaissance to the main suspects. Fishermen Cooperative Society vice chairman Sultan Qamar Siddiqui, his brother Hussain Umar Siddiqui and Sajid Naeem were also nominated for allegedly providing weapons to the assailants.

The police also named around 10 absconders in the case, including arms dealer Zahid Abdul Qadir, alias Zahid Motiwala, and placed over 100 prosecution witnesses, including around 10 eyewitnesses, in the final investigation report and contended that two of the detained suspects disclosed their affiliation with the Islamic State militant group.

The report further said that as per the investigation, the JIT report and other documentary record, all the suspects remained associated with Al-Qaeda and following its split they became part of IS.

Saad Aziz with his absconding accomplices has also been booked for allegedly killing Sabeen Mahmud, social media campaigner and human rights activist, when she with her mother was returning home after holding a seminar.

The other cases being sent to military courts are against Tahir, Saad, Asad, Nasir and Azhar related to the killing of policemen, an attempted murder, and keeping illicit weapons and explosive material.

Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2015

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