Peshawar: ATC given 4 months to try `militants`
PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Monday directed the anti-terrorism court in Swat to conclude trial of 60 suspected militants within four months.
A single bench comprising Chief Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan directed that in case their trial could not be concluded within four months, they should be released on bail on condition of furnishing two sureties of Rs500,000.
These suspects had surrendered to the security forces over two years ago and since then they had been behind the bars without conclusion of their trial.
The bench was hearing a bail petition filed by 31 of these suspects including Kifayatullah and others.
Advocate Astaghfirullah Khan appeared for the petitioners and contended that around 60 suspects, belonging to Koza Bandae and Bara Bandae areas of Swat, had surrendered to the security forces on July 20, 2009. Later, he stated, they were handed over to the local police and an FIR was registered against them under section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act and section 13 of the Arms Ordinance.
The counsel stated that on Dec 11, 2009, the high court had issued directives in their case that their trial should be completed within three months failing which they should be released on bail. He stated that the said deadline expired on March 12, 2010, but despite the passage of over 14 months the trial had still been in initial stages. He stated that the suspects also included some minors.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa advocate general, Sadaullah Khan Chamkani, contended that the suspects were militants and had surrendered to the security forces. He added that three of the suspects were would-be suicide bombers and their rehabilitation and de-radicalisation was underway.