ISLAMABAD–Pakistan’s higher judiciary decided on Wednesday to give top priority to terrorism cases and conduct daily hearings to clear out a backlog pending with the country’s anti-terrorism courts.
Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk was chairing a meeting to formulate strategy for the speedy disposal of terrorism cases. The meeting was attended by high court judges tasked with supervising the anti-terrorism courts and the caretaker judges of the ATCs.
Following the savage attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar last week, the chief justice had announced that he would convene a meeting of the high court judges to ensure the speedy disposal of terrorism cases pending with the ATCs.
The decision to fast-track terrorism cases comes days after the government lifted a moratorium on executions in the country, allowing capital punishment for those sentenced to death in terrorism cases.
According to Amnesty International, there are over 8,000 prisoners on death row in Pakistan.
According to DawnNews, today’s meeting decided that terrorism cases would be heard in the ATCs on a daily basis. The chief justice also directed judges to ensure that witnesses, investigators, and defendants appear in court on specified dates of hearing.
A press statement following the meeting said that administrative judges of the ATCs will conduct monthly meetings and liaison with stakeholders to clear out obstacles.
The statement also advised provincial governments to coordinate with the chief justice of their respective high courts in order to move anti-terrorism courts to safer locations.
The top judges also requested the Law and Justice Commission to present recommendations for a review of existing anti-terrorism laws.