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May 14, 2020

Release of 290 convicted militants: Supreme Court bars PHC from issuing interim order

Top Story

May 14, 2020

Release of 290 convicted militants: Supreme Court bars PHC from issuing interim order

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday restrained the Peshawar High Court (PHC) from passing interim order pertaining to the release on bail of 290 militants convicted by military courts for their involvement in different terrorist activities in the country.

A two-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed heard the appeal of Ministry of Defence praying for restraining the Peshawar High Court from passing interim order pertaining to the release on bail of 290 militants who were convicted by the military courts.

Attorney General Khalid Javed submitted before the court if the PHC grants bail, there will be an irreparable loss. The court directed the PHC to proceed on merit while conducting the hearing into the instant matter on June 16 but till then it should not pass an interim order pertaining to the release of 290 militants and adjourned the hearing until next Monday.

PHC ChiefJustice Waqar Ahmad Seth is currently hearing appeals filed by 290 alleged militants and their facilitators convicted by the military courts.

Earlier, the Ministry of Defence had requested the PHC to constitute a larger bench on account of conflicting views of different benches on the matter. The PHC, however, had rejected the plea.

Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry approached the Supreme Court, challenging the PHC order as well as praying for restraining the high court from passing an interim order for release of the convicted militants.

On Wednesday, the court also clubbed the Ministry of Defence’s another appeal against the PHC verdict acquitting some 73 individuals, convicted by the military courts.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Yahya Afridi the other day took up the mater. During the hearing, Justice Afridi said he and Justice Alam had been part of the PHC when it passed orders against convictions by the military court therefore they cannot hear the instant appeal.

Attorney General Khlaid Javed, however, pleaded that the issue is more important than the plea seeking formation of a larger bench as the learned high court was also hearing the convicts’ bail applications and a new crisis could emerge.

He requested the court to refer the matter to Chief Justice of Pakistan for constituting another bench. At this, the court had referred the matter to the CJP and on Wednesday the new two-member bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed heard the matter.

The court restrained the PHC from passing interim order pertaining to the release on bail of 290 militants who were convicted by the military courts for their involvements in different terrorist activities in the country and adjourned further hearing till Monday.