ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court yesterday restored the death sentence of PML-N MNA Abid Raza in a murder case, saying that a convict sentenced under Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) cannot be acquitted.

PML-N MNA Abid Raza, elected from NA-107 in 2013 general elections, was awarded death sentence by ATC of Gujranwala for the murder of six people in Gujrat but was freed after a compromise with the aggrieved.

The SC bench while hearing the case related to Raza’s disqualification on Thursday took strict notice of his acquittal in terrorism charges. The court referred the case back to Lahore High Court (LHC) with direction to announce decision over appeals filed by convicts against their sentences in two months.

The five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and comprising Justice Amir Hani Muslim, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik heard the suo-moto case.

During the course of proceedings, Advocate Munir Bhatti, counsel for the accused, stated that the family of the victims had forgiven his client after a settlement. He pleaded the court to maintain Lahore High Court verdict which had acquitted his client after the settlement.

But chief justice observed that a compromise was not allowed in a case registered under ATA-1997. The court suspended convicts’ acquittal, restored the trial court sentences and directed the LHC to review its decision as per the law.