Pakistani court sets aside appeal against death sentence

Pakistani court set aside appeal against of a man convicted for attack on army`s General Headquarters, saying matter could be taken up after the government decides whether to go ahead with executions.

Islamabad: A Pakistani court on Monday set aside an appeal against the death sentence given to a man convicted for an attack on the army`s General Headquarters, saying the matter could be taken up after the government decides whether to go ahead with executions.
The Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court set aside the appeal filed by Aqeel Ahmed alias Doctor Usman, a former personnel of the army`s Medical Corps who was convicted for the 2009 attack.

During the hearing, Justices Mazhar Iqbal and Ibadur Rahman Lodhi pointed out that the federal government had not yet decided on implementing death sentences. The appeal would be heard after the government makes a decision on the issue, they said.

Usman, a former soldier, was convicted in August 2011 and given the death sentence by a military court in Rawalpindi. He first filed an appeal in the military court, which rejected it.

Following this, Usman challenged his death sentence in the Lahore High Court. He contended that he was sentenced without being given an opportunity to defend himself.

Some 10 heavily armed militants wearing suicide vest had stormed the General Headquarters in 2009. Eleven soldiers were killed in the attack.

A moratorium on executions imposed by outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari expired recently. The PML-N government had decided to execute four death row prisoners, including members of banned terror groups, later this month.

The executions were put on hold by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday after Zardari said he wished to discuss the matter with the premier. Zardari is set to step down on September 8.