ISLAMABAD - Supreme Court yesterday halted the execution of four civilians convicted by military courts for their involvement in attack on Army Public School and bomb blasts in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.

Taj Muhammad and Ali ur Rehman were convicted for facilitating and abetting the deadly attack in Dec 2014 on Army Public School, killing 144 persons, including 132 students.

As for the two others, Qari Muhammad Zubair was convicted for his involvement in Nowshera and Imran Khan in Mardan bomb blasts.

These persons were awarded death sentences by the military courts last year, and their sentences were confirmed by the army chief.

Their relatives approached the Supreme Court after Peshawar High Court dismissed their petitions against the military courts judgments.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Dost Muhammad and Justice Faez Isa Tuesday heard their appeals and issued notice to Attorney General for Pakistan and the JAG branch, suspending the executions till 16-2-2016.

The AG has been ordered to submit report on the status of the convicts’ appeal and supply the unsigned copy of military court judgments. The SC office is directed to fix the case before a three-member bench on Feb 16.

Justice Qazi Faez said the 21st Amendment judgment had opened a narrow window that the military courts sentences could be examined by the superior courts if those suffering from qorum non judice, want of jurisdiction, mala fide and fair trial.

He asked the counsels of the convicts if they had filed appeals against the death sentence before the competent forums, which are appellate courts under Army Act 1952.

Counsel Latif Afridi said they had filed the appeals but were unaware of their fate. He stated that military courts did not provide copies of the judgment to the families of convicts who came to know about the sentences through newspapers and the internet. He added the family members were not even allowed to meet the convicts in jail, which was against Pakistan Prison Rules.