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ATC awards death penalty to four TTP men

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) while announcing verdict in Ichhra police attack case, handed death sentence to four terrorists linked with banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), ARY News reported.

During the hearing, public prosecutor said that the accused had attacked Ichhra Police Training Center, where they killed ten jail wardens from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who were under training at the center and injured 22.

He requested the court to award stern punishment to the accused.

On the other hand, counsels of the accused requested the ATC to acquit their clients on the basis of insufficient evidence and absence of witnesses against them.

However, the court after listening to both sides handed death sentence to four accused namely Zulfikar, Karamat, Afzal and Abdul Hakim on 21 different counts.

All the four convicts were associated with TTP Punjab.

AFP adds: The convicts were also fined 1.8 million rupees (18,000 dollars) each, he added.

Pakistan lifted a moratorium on executions in terror cases in December after Taliban gunmen massacred more than 150 people at a school.

The executions could take decades to be carried out, however, because of the lengthy appeals process allowed under Pakistani law.

The four TTP militants, all in their 20s, confessed to carrying out the attack on the residential quarters for prison staff in the densely populated Lahore suburb of Ichra, Saeed said.

After killing 10 during the dawn raid armed with Kalashnikov rifles and hand grenades, they then stormed another building where around 30 police prison officers were sleeping.

Many were injured as they fled into neighbouring houses in a bid to save themselves from the volley of bullets, Saeed added.

The four men were arrested about a year after the attack when they were caught with Kalashnikov rifles and hand grenades at a bus stand in Lahore.

Pakistan amended its constitution and set up military courts last month for speedy trial of terrorism cases.

Twenty-four people have been executed since Prime Minister Sharif lifted a six-year moratorium on the death penalty in the wake of the December Taliban school massacre in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Heavily armed gunmen went from room to room at the army-run school killing 154 people, most of them children, in an attack that horrified the world.

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