Swat: 4 militants sentenced to life imprisonment
SWAT: Four militants were sentenced to life imprisonment by the anti–terrorism court (ATC) of Matta for robbing a bank, on Wednesday. The ATC passed its verdict after finding the four men guilty of robbing and torching the National Bank building in Matta in 2008. They were identified as Rahmat Khan, Yousaf Khan, Azizullah and Rahim Zada.
The court fined each accused Rs20 million and ordered that over 20 tolas of gold recovered from the convicts be handed over to the National Bank.
People across Swat hailed the ATC’s decision, terming it “a bold step”. Locals hesitate to step forward to give eyewitness accounts of atrocities committed by militants for fear of reprisals.
Swat Qaumi Jirga spokesperson Ziauddin Yousafzai said because militants were not being taken to task since the restoration of peace in Swat, people were hesitant to testify against them in courts.
“We have repeatedly asked the government to punish all terrorists according to law. We appreciate ATC’s verdict and expect that all other terrorists involved in anti-state activities will also be punished,” he added.
A local schoolteacher and social activist, Ahmed Shah, said that the verdict will help improve peace and stability in Swat, as the people’s trust in the ATC will be restored.
Hundreds of alleged terrorists have been put on trial by ATCs in Saidu Sharif, Matta and Kabal, Swat valley and are awaiting the final verdicts for their cases.