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October 14, 2020

Uzair Baloch’s conviction: SHC seeks secretary defence, JAG’s comments by December 1

National

October 14, 2020

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) Tuesday issued notices to secretary defence, judge advocate general (JAG) and others on a petition filed by the alleged Lyari gangster Uzair Jan Baloch’s family challenging his conviction by a military court on charges of espionage.

Petitioner Razia Begum submitted that her son, Uzair Baloch, was picked up by the law enforcement agencies in January 2016 and was in their custody for over a year. She said Uzair was booked and charge-sheeted in 40 terrorism related cases, which were pending with the anti-terrorism courts.

She submitted that Uzair was shifted from the central prison on April 12, 2017 to face the field general court martial for his involvement in espionage and working for foreign intelligence agencies.

She submitted that Uzair’s custody was again sent to the Karachi prison in the first week of April and it was reported in the media that he was convicted by a military court for espionage and sentenced to 12-year jail.

She submitted that applications had been sent to the military and prisons authorities for providing a copy of the military court proceedings but of no avail.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that Uzair was convicted without jurisdiction and cogent evidence and he had right to a fair trial and to appeal his conviction.

He submitted that the petitioner was not allowed to meet her son and no copy of military court proceedings and judgment was provided to her. He submitted that Uzair Baloch’s conviction under the Pakistan Army Act read with Section 3 of Official Secret Act was illegal without adopting the required procedure as well as without any cogent evidence and corum non judice.

He submitted that the petitioner’s right to consult and to be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice was not provided and therefore the entire trial was conducted in contravention of Article 10-A of the Constitution.

He submitted that non-provision of the conviction judgment and other proceedings of the alleged trial were a complete violation of 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 same amounts to denial of substantive right to injustice on the touchstone of Islamic injunctions.

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

The petitioner also sought injunction against implementation of the impugned military court judgment and allowing the petitioner and her counsel to meet with her son in the prison.

The division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha, after preliminary hearing of the petition issued notices to the secretary defence, judge advocate general and others and called their comments by December 1.