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Pakistan to execute 5 ‘hardcore’ al-Qaeda terrorists for bus attack

world Updated: May 13, 2016 01:02 IST
Shia Ismaili Muslims

Pakistan Army chief Raheel Sharif has confirmed the death penalty.(Reuters file photo)

Pakistan army chief Raheel Sharif confirmed on Thursday the death penalty given by the military courts to five “hardcore” al-Qaeda terrorists involved in the killing of 45 Shia Ismaili Muslims, murder of social activist Sabeen Mehmood and attacks on law enforcing agencies.

In a statement, the army said the five were tried and found guilty by the military courts which were set up soon after Peshawar school attack of December 16, 2014 for speedy trial of terrorists.

“Today Chief of Army Staff (Gen Sharif) confirmed death sentences awarded to five hardcore terrorists,” the army said.

It said that they were involved in Safoora Chowrangi bus attack, IED blast near Saleh Masjid, killing of social worker Sabeen and attacks on law enforcing agencies in Karachi.

Kalashnikov-wielding militants donning police uniforms had killed 45 Shia Ismaili Muslims - 26 men and 17 women, shooting them in the head inside their bus on May 13 last year in the Safoora Chowrangi attack in Karachi.

The attack was claimed by the dreaded terror outfit ISIS, their first strike in the region.

The convicts include Tahir Hussain Minhas, Saad Aziz, Asad ur Rehman, Hafiz Nasir and Muhammad Azhar Ishrat.

“These convicts were tried by military courts,” the statement added.

According to the military’s wing, these five convicts were active members of al-Qaeda.

After endorsement of their deaths by the army chief, the last legal hurdle in the way of hanging has been crossed.

Among convicts is Saad Aziz - a BBA graduate from the Pakistan’s prestigious Institute of Business Administration.

Saad has confessed to masterminding the murder of Sabeen, a prominent rights activist and co-founder and director of The Second Floor, who was shot dead in Karachi in April last year.