LHC rejects convicts’ appeals in GHQ attack case

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The Lahore High Court (LHC), Rawalpindi Bench, on Thursday dismissed four intra-court appeals (ICA) filed by convicted persons of GHQ attacks. The appellant including the mastermind of GHQ attacks Aqeel Ahmed alias Dr Usman were seeking copy of their trial proceedings conducted by Field General Court Martial (FGCM). A division bench of the IHC was informed by one of the defence counsels Advocate Colonel (r) Inamur Rahim that seven persons were convicted in GHQ attacks by FGCM on August 8, 2011, while death sentence was awarded to one of the convicts and rigorous imprisonment to others.
But after the decision, Rahim told that convicts moved an application to Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the army for provision of copies of their trial proceedings to enable them to formulate grounds of their appeal in the military appellate court. He submitted before the court that in identical matter, LHC Justice Saghir Ahmed Qadri passed instructions to deputy attorney general and representative of Pakistan Navy to provide copies of trial proceedings and that another LHC Judge, Justice Rauf Ahmed Sheikh, dismissed the petition for the supply of trial proceedings of GHQ attack case to the counsels of convicted persons.
He said the JAG department on March 1 asked the convicts to appear before army court of appeal on March 10 for final hearing.
Rahim added that the denial of trial proceedings was contradictory in nature against the principles of natural justice, dictum laid down by the superior courts and unprecedented in the world, adding it made them handicapped and incapacitated to effectively challenge the sentenced awarded to them by the military court. He requested the court for direction to the ministry of defence and JAG branch for supply of the copy of trial proceedings and also requested the court to restrain the military court of appeal to proceed with the case. Earlier, LHC Justice Sheikh on February 16 dismissed their petitions after the JAG branch submitted a letter of chief of army staff in the court in which he declined the request for providing the copy of trial proceeding to the counsels of the accused persons. The court then held that under the constitutional bar of article 199 (3) of the constitution, it could not proceed with the matter. The appellants included Aqeel Ahmed alias Dr Usman, Khalilur Rehman, Mohammad Usman and Wajid Mehmood. The FGCM on August 11 awarded death sentence to Ahmed, life imprisonment to Wajid Mehmood, Mohammad Khaliqur Rehman, Mohammad Usman, 10 years imprisonment to Mohammad Adnan and seven years each to Mohammad Tahir Shafique and Imran Siddiqui in the charges ranging from desertion, murder, taking hostages to terrorism and attacking the armed forces on October 10, 2009, at GHQ.