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May 27, 2020

SHC moved against Uzair Baloch’s conviction by military court

Karachi

May 27, 2020

The family of the alleged kingpin of the Lyari gang war, Uzair Jan Baloch, has filed a petition with the Sindh High Court (SHC) challenging the conviction of Uzair by a military court over espionage charges.

The petitioner, Uzair’s mother Razia Begum, submitted in the petition that her son was picked up by personnel of law enforcement agencies in January 2016 and remained in their custody for over a year.

She submitted that Uzair was booked and chargesheeted in 40 terrorism-related cases which were pending before anti-terrorism courts (ATC). She informed the SHC that her son was shifted from the central prison on April 12, 2017, to the military authorities to face field general court martial for his alleged involvement in espionage activities and working for foreign intelligence agencies.

Razia submitted that Uzair was handed over to the Karachi prison authorities in the first week of April and it was reported by the media that he had been convicted by the military court.

She submitted that applications had been sent to the military and prisons authorities for a copy of military court proceedings; however, no copy of the judgment and other record and proceedings were provided.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that her son was convicted without jurisdiction and cogent evidence and he had the right for a fair trial and the legal right to appeal against his conviction.

He submitted that the petitioner was not allowed to meet her son and no copy of military court proceedings and judgment were provided to her. He argued that the conviction of Uzair under the Pakistan Army Act read with the section 3 of the Official Secrets Act was illegal as the required procedure was not adopted, there was no cogent evidence and there was corum non judice.

The counsel submitted that the right of the petitioner to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice was not provided; therefore, the entire trial had been conducted in contravention of the Article 10-A of the Constitution. He submitted that not providing the conviction judgment and other proceedings of the alleged trial are complete violation of the Articles 8 and 10-A of the Constitution as the same affected the ability of the convict to defend himself properly in the trial court and the same amounted to the denial of substantive right into injustice on the touchstone of Islamic injunctions.

The high court was requested to set aside the military court conviction as being in violation of the law and direct the military authorities to produce the judgment and record of the proceedings before the court and provide their copies to the petitioner.

The petitioner also sought an injunction against the implementation of the impugned military court judgment and allow her and her counsel to meet Uzair in the prison. It is pertinent to mention here that Uzair, who was tried by a military court under the charges of espionage for Iranian intelligence agencies, had earlier confessed to his association with the Pakistan Peoples Party’s central leadership, including its women wing leader Faryal Talpur, and made startling disclosures in the joint investigation report regarding the involvement of politicians in crimes such as killings and extortion.