Pakistan today hanged four “hard core” Taliban militants convicted of terrorism-related offenses by the controversial military courts. Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said that they were hanged in a jail of northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. “Four hardcore terrorists tried by Military Courts were hanged today,” he said. Ghafoor further stated that they were involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism, including killing of innocent civilians, attacking Armed Forces of Pakistan and Law Enforcement Agencies.
The four prisoners have been identified by army as Rehman ud Din, Mushtaq Khan, Ubaid ur Rehman and Zafar Iqbal. They were members of banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. The timing and place of trial were not known as military courts operate in secrecy due to fear of rebel backlash. Military courts were restored last month for another two years after their initial two-year term expired in January.
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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.