Nine get death in Pakistan over terror offences

ISLAMABAD • Pakistani military courts have sentenced nine men to death for terrorism-related offences or attacks on minority Shi'ites, the army said yesterday.

Pakistan has hanged more than 300 people since lifting a moratorium on the death penalty in December 2014. Many were convicted in closed military courts which critics say fail to meet fair trial standards.

"Today, Chief of Army Staff confirmed death sentences (were) awarded to another nine hardcore terrorists, who were involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism," an army statement said.

One is Muhammad Ghauri, a Pakistani Taleban member linked to an attack on a garrison mosque in Rawalpindi which killed 38 people and injured 57 in December 2009.

Another is Harkatul Jehad-e-Islam activist Abdul Qayyum, linked to a car bomb suicide attack on the Inter Services Intelligence headquarters in the central city of Multan which killed seven people and wounded 72 in December 2009.

Two others were linked to attacks on soldiers, while five were said to be members of the Sunni sectarian outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan who killed five Shi'ites in the eastern city of Lahore.

Their trials took place behind closed doors, with no information on where or when they were held, how proceedings unfolded and scant details about their crimes.

Pakistan has been battling a home-grown Islamist insurgency for over a decade following its decision to side with the United States-led coalition against the Taleban in Afghanistan.

Its troops have been engaged in a full-scale offensive against Taleban and other militants in North Waziristan and Khyber tribal districts since June 2014. The fight gained renewed impetus following a massacre at a Peshawar school in December 2014 in which 134 children were killed, leading to widespread outrage and a series of measures aimed at combating terror.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2016, with the headline 'Nine get death in Pakistan over terror offences'. Print Edition | Subscribe