Pakistani army chief signs death sentences of 11 Taliban members

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Pakistan’s army chief signed off on the death sentences of 11 members of the Taliban convicted of terrorism, kidnappings and attacks on civilians as well as assaults on police and army officers, an army statement said.

The 11 were tried by military courts in closed-door trials. Pakistan started military trials for those suspected of terrorism after lifting a 2008 moratorium on the death penalty following the Peshawar school massacre that killed over 150, mostly kids, in late 2014.

In cases of capital punishment handed down by military courts, the army chief is required to confirm the sentences. A Pakistani army statement late Tuesday said general Raheel Sharif signed off on the sentences. It was not immediately known when the executions would take place and the 11 have the right to appeal.

Four of the Taliban militants, identified as Maulvi Dilbar Khan, Hameedullah, Mohammad Nabi and Rehmatullah, confessed to killing a police chief and two senior army officers in a 2013 attack in northern Pakistani district of Chilas, the statement said. The three officers were shot and killed during their investigation of an earlier Taliban attack, which killed nine foreign climbers at the base camp of Nanga Parbat, one of the tallest peaks in the world.

So far, some 207 Taliban militant suspects have gone on trial before military courts, and verdicts for 88 of them have been announced, Pakistani army spokesman Gen. Asim Bajwa told Dunya News TV.

The Pakistani Taliban and allied local and foreign Islamic militant groups have been waging a war on the state for over a decade, killing tens of thousands of people.

The army in 2014 launched wide-scale army operations targeting main militant sanctuaries in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas. Major operations there are now almost finished, Bajwa said, adding that the military now was focusing on intelligence-based operations against militants and their facilitators in Pakistani cities.

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