One convict’s father alleges his son has been denied a fair trial.
Five naval officers have been sentenced to death for their involvement in a deadly attack on a Karachi dockyard in 2014, the father of one of the men and their lawyer said Tuesday.
The September 2014 attack on the Pakistan Navy Shipyard (PNS) Zulfiqar left one Pakistani officer and three attackers dead, while seven sailors were wounded.
Later reports said the militants wanted to hijack a frigate in order to attack U.S. Navy patrol vessels in the northwest Indian Ocean. “My son has informed me that a naval court has awarded him and four other officers the death penalty for charges such as having links with the militant Islamic State group, mutiny, hatching a conspiracy and carrying weapons in the dockyard,” said Saeed Ahmed, a retired army major and father of one of the convicted men, sub-lieutenant Hammad Ahmed.
The alleged ties to I.S. contradicts the Pakistani Taliban’s claim of responsibility at the time. Al Qaeda’s then newly-formed South Asia chapter also claimed responsibility. Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban have carried out joint operations for years, but both are hostile to the Islamic State group, which is an upstart in the region.
Ahmed added his son was convicted on April 12 but he only became aware of it last week when he visited him in prison. “My son was denied the right to a fair trial,” he said.
Ahmed’s lawyer Inam-ur-Rahim told AFP that his client was preparing to file an appeal but so far had not been given documentation relating to the case by the military court, including the charge sheet. When contacted for comment, a senior navy official did not explicitly confirm the sentences or whether a trial had taken place, but said: “Such actions were part of the National Action Plan (NAP) to purge the country of terrorists.”
Pakistan launched a countrywide campaign against militancy called the National Action Plan starting in 2015 after a deadly Taliban attack on a Peshawar school left more than 150 people, mostly children, dead.