Pakistan court maintains acquittal of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Akram Lahori, suspends death sentence of 20 others
A Pakistani court has maintained the acquittal of sectarian outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi's chief and suspended death sentence awarded to 20 other convicts tried by anti-terrorism courts and sessions courts.
Karachi: A Pakistani court has maintained the acquittal of sectarian outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi's chief and suspended death sentence awarded to 20 other convicts tried by anti-terrorism courts and sessions courts.
The Sindh High Court on Friday also converted the capital punishment of four others to life imprisonment after the prosecution failed to prove relevant cases, the Express Tribune reported.
These decisions by the court came to light based on a 16-week performance of the high court's appellate bench, which is tasked to hear and decide appeals of the suspects convicted in criminal cases.
According to the paper, the bench headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto gave the verdict on 51 appeals against death sentences filed by the convicts as well as references sent by the judges of the ATCs and session courts.
The high court also rejected appeals filed by 23 other convicts, upholding the capital punishment awarded by the special anti-terrorism courts and the sessions' courts.
The anti-terror appellate bench also dismissed the appeal filed by the state through the prosecutor general against the acquittal of the banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi's chief Muhammad Ajmal alias Akram Lahori and Tassaduque Hussain alias Shaikh in a sectarian killing case of 2002.
Karachi's s anti-terrorism court-V had acquitted Ajmal and Hussain of the murder charges on which the two accused, Ataullah alias Shaikh and Muhammad Azam alias Sharif, were sentenced to death.
The police had accused them of killing Ramzan Ali, the owner of the Pak Iranian Tea Company, in February 2002.
"There is no misreading of evidence resulting in miscarriage of justice," the bench wrote in its judgment, adding that "sound reasons have been assigned by the trial court while recording the acquittal of the accused."
While allowing the appeals of 20 suspects, the appellate bench suspended capital punishment awarded to them by the trial courts along with other sentences.
Of them nine were convicted by the anti-terrorism courts (ATCs) while eleven by the sessions' courts.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had resumed executions ending eight-year presidential moratorium on capital punishment following the massacre of over 130 students at the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014.
Since then dozens of convicts, whose appeals were dismissed by the Supreme Court and their mercy appeals rejected by the President, have been hanged.