ISLAMABAD        -     The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday suspended the Peshawar High Court (PHC) order to release 196 persons, convicted by the military courts on terrorism charges.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam conducted hearing of the federation appeal against the PHC order and issued stay orders against it.

Earlier this month, the PHC overturned the convictions of 196 individuals who had been sentenced by military courts and ordered their release. The court, in its verdict, mentioned that these people were accused on the basis of a confessional statement and not provided a chance at fair trial.

The apex court directed the federal government to furnish complete details of the persons released by the High Court.

During the hearing, Justice Qazi Ameen said that the suspects were sentenced by the military courts after conducting a trial and each case has different evidence and facts.

He asked that if the suspects are still in jail or whether they were released.

The Additional Attorney-General said that they are still in jail. Later, the bench adjourned hearing till July 24 in this matter for further proceedings.

In March, the apex court had sought from the Ministry of Defence, the complete record on the allegations against the persons convicted by the military court and the details of the evidence supporting the convictions.

The PHC had earlier also upheld several cases of military convictions in 2018, where the SC had to intervene as well. On November 2, 2018, the apex court had restrained the jail authorities to release 70 terror suspects, convicted by military courts, involved in different terrorist activities in the country.

A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had heard appeals of the Defence Ministry against the verdict of PHC, acquitting all the 68 terror suspects released by military courts due to lack of evidence. The PHC had overturned the death sentence of around 70 people convicted by the military courts on terrorism charges and declared that all these are cases of no evidence and based on the malice of facts and law.