ISLAMABAD - Judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan Justice Yahya Afridi Monday refused to hear appeals of 196 persons convicted by the military courts on terrorism charges.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed conducted hearing of the federation’s appeal against the PHC order.

After the recusal of Justice Afridi from the bench, Justice Mushir Alam referred the matter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed for constituting another bench for hearing of the appeals against the PHC order.

It was July 21 when the top court had suspended the PHC order to release 196 persons, convicted by the military courts on terrorism charges. The apex court had directed the federal government to furnish complete details of the persons released by the PHC, when the additional attorney-general told that 196 individuals are still in jail.

The PHC, earlier this month, had 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 confessional statements as they were not provided fair trial.

In March, in another case, the apex court sought from the Ministry of Defence, the complete record on the allegations against the persons convicted by the military courts 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 Defense 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.