Sources told media the interior ministry has sanctioned 18 cases of Sindh for trial “strictly as per law under the Army Act 1952, as amended”.
The suspects to be tried in military courts are namely, Saad Aziz, Tahir Hussain Minhas, Asad Rehman, Hafiz Nasir Ahmed, Azhar Ishrat, Sultan Qumar Siddiqui, Hussain Umer Siddiqui, Naeem Sajid and Hafiz Umer.
The cases were earlier referred to the federal interior ministry by the home department of the provincial government.
Saad Aziz is among the prime suspects in both the Safoora Goth carnage and the murder of rights activist Sabeen Mahmud.
In October, an antiterrorism court was informed that due to security concerns, the trial of the Safoora Goth bus carnage case would be conducted inside the central prison.
The home department through a notification had informed the ATC-I that the trial of the suspects would be conducted inside the prison because of security reasons.
Sindh police in August had planned to send 35 cases of terrorist activities allegedly carried out by Safoora Goth bus attack suspects, believed to be local operatives of self-styled Islamic State, to military courts, official sources say.
The Sindh police had decided to ‘re-examine’ all terrorism-related cases on the basis of severity of the crime before recommending them to the home department in the wake of Supreme Court decision in favour of military courts.
Safoora Goth massacre
Saad Aziz alias Tin Tin, Tahir Hussain Minhas alias Sain, Asad-ur-Rehman alias Malik, Hafiz Nasir alias Yasir and Mohammad Azhar Ishrat alias Majid are facing trial for their involvement in the killing of 45 Ismaili community members, including 18 women, in a targeted attack on a bus near Safoora Goth on May 13.
At least 43 people were killed and 13 others wounded when armed men opened fire inside a bus carrying members of the Ismaili community near Safoora Chowk in Karachi.
The armed men used 9mm pistols in the massacre, and managed to flee after the attack.
Sabeen Mahmud’s murder
Earlier in April this year, prominent rights activist and co-founder and director of The Second Floor (T2F), Sabeen Mahmud was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi.
Sabeen, accompanied by her mother, left T2F after 9pm and was on her way home when she was shot by unidentified gunmen in Defence Phase-II, sources confirmed. She died on her way to the hospital. Doctors said they retrieved five bullets from her body.
Her mother also sustained bullet wounds and was said to be in critical condition, but survived the wounds.
Military courts were set up under the 21st Amendment to the Constitution and through an amendment in the Army Act, and both houses of the parliament had unanimously passed the legislation.
Religious and sectarian terrorist outfits were to be the focus of the new courts.
The Supreme Court (SC) in a majority ruling had upheld the establishment of military courts in Pakistan.
Petitions challenging the 21st amendment were dismissed in a majority 11-6 vote of the 17-member SC bench.
The Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif in August had approved an increase in the number of military courts for Karachi to handle outstanding terror cases.
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