Pakistan has hanged two “hard core” Taliban terrorists convicted of terrorism-related offenses by controversial military courts which were revived after two years ignoring opposition from rights groups. The executions were carried out at a high-security prison in Punjab province Tuesday, the army said in a late-night statement. It said the two “hard core terrorists” were involved in committing “heinous offences relating to terrorism, including killing of civilians, attacking Armed Forces, Law Enforcement Agencies, polio vaccination team and employees of a NGO.”
The army did not elaborate where the trials were held and when the initial punishment was announced. The two convicts were identified as Muhammad Shahid Omar and Fazl e Haq – both active members of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Military courts were restored last month for another two years after their initial two-year term expired in January.
The courts were set up after a constitutional amendment after a terror attack on an army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014 killed more than 150 people, most of them students. While Pakistani authorities maintain the military courts are an “effective deterrent” against terrorism, rights groups question transparency of the trials because of the secrecy surrounding the special tribunals.
The military courts have handed down the death penalty to more than 160 militants and yesterday’s hangings took the number of those executed so far to 23. Also, the executions came on a day when Amnesty International in a worldwide report said Pakistan reduced the number of executions by 73 per cent in 2016 compared to the year before.
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