RAWALPINDI - Three key members of TTP among nine militants who plotted major terrorist attacks against security forces and civilians will be hanged after Army Chief General Raheel Sharif confirmed their death sentences yesterday.

All these men were convicted by the military courts for offences, including an attack on the Parade Lane mosque in Rawalpindi, Inter-Services Intelligence’s Multan office, attacks on law-enforcement agencies and kidnapping and murder of civilians in Lahore.

Pakistan suffered immense men and material losses and its economy melted down for joining the US-led war against terror following the 9/11 incident. Since 2008 Pakistan launched major military operations to purge the country of terrorism and extremism. It intensified the campaign after Peshawar’s Army Public School massacre on December 16, 2014, which claimed the lives of 151 people, including 141 children.

The killers who stormed into the school raked the assembly hall with machine gun fire and stalked the corridors, shooting children and teachers cowering in their classrooms. The gunmen were killed by the security forces, but the attack left Pakistan in deep shock and provoked international outrage.

Pakistan lifted the moratorium on death penalty. Most of the militants responsible for the APS massacre have been convicted by special military courts established to fast-track terrorist cases last year.

More than 300 militants were killed in 2015. However, the masterminds of the plot who are hiding in Afghanistan, including Maulvi Fazlullah, are still at large and had reportedly survived several attacks by the Afghan security forces.

Maulvi Fazlullah with some of fighters fled to Afghanistan in 2009 after Pakistan Army launched a major offensive against militants in Swat and Malakand regions.

He is believed to have joined many other TTP fighters who also fled into Afghanistan and have been mounting attacks on Pakistan after Pakistan Army launched Zarb-e-Azb in June last year to reclaim writ of the state in North Waziristan and other border regions, including Khyber Agency,

According to ISPR, military’s media wing, more than 3,000 militants have been killed, hundreds of others injured and arrested and their sanctuaries destroyed. The security forces have also suffered causalities during the ongoing offensive.

Last month, Islamabad and Kabul agreed to eliminate those militants who would not renounce violence after resumption of reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Sharing details of the nine convicts with the media, ISPR said Muhammad Ghauri was an active member of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its media cell in-charge. Ghauri was allegedly involved in an attack on Parade Lane Mosque, Rawalpindi, which resulted in the death of 38 people and injuries to 57 others. Ghauri was tried on four charges and awarded death sentence as he confessed to his offences before the magistrate and the trial court.

Another convict, Abdul Qayyum, an active member of Harkat-e-Jihad-e-Islam, Punjab, was involved in an attack on Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Headquarters, Multan, killing seven and injuring 72 others. He confessed to his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried for seven charges and awarded death sentence.

Muhammad Imran, the third convict, was an active member of TTP. He was involved in terrorist acts and attacks on LEAs, killing and injuring soldiers. He also confessed to his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried for four charges and awarded death sentence.

Fourth convict, Aksan Mehboob, an active member of al Qaeda, was involved in an attack on LEAs. He confessed to his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried for four charges and awarded death sentence.

Adbur Rauf Gujjar (accused No 1), Muhammad Hashim (accused No 2), Suleman (accused No 3), Shafqat Farooqi (accused No 4) and Muhammad Farhan (accused No 5), convicted for killing civilians in Lahore, were active members of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP).

Gujjar was punished for target killing of four civilians, Syed Shakir Ali Rizvi, Syed Waqar Haider, Syed Arshad Ali and Ghulam Mustafa. The four others were involved in the murder of Ghulam Mustafa and injuring Anwar Hussain. They confessed their offences before the magistrate. Accused No 1 was tried for eight charges and the rest four (accused No 2 to 5) were tried for four charges. All of them were awarded death sentence.

In a related development, General Raheel Sharif yesterday visited Turbat, Talar and Gawadar and reviewed progress of the projects being completed by army engineers as part of China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He was told that overall security situation in Makran division had improved and militancy had declined considerably.

The army chief paid rich tributes to the martyrs of army, other law-enforcement agencies and civilians who laid down their lives for security and development of the area.

He expressed his satisfaction over the steps being taken for restoration of peace in Makran Division and directed the officials concerned to take stringent security measures for the security of engineers and labourers, particularly for the Chinese nationals working on Gwadar Port and other projects.

Commending army, FC and other LEAs over extraordinary efforts for security, he said completion of these projects is directly linked with law and order situation of the province and vowed the armed forces would take all necessary actions to help bring back normalcy.