ISLAMABAD: Five Pakistan navy officers linked to the Islamic State have been sentenced to death in a secret military trail for allegedly planning to hijack a Pakistani warship to attack one of the US navy’s refuel ships, a media report said on Tuesday.
Sub-Lieutenant Hammad Ahmed and four other naval officers have been sentenced after being convicted by a Navy tribunal for their involvement in the September 6, 2014 attack on Karachi Naval Dockyard.
“The five were charged with having links with the militant Islamic State group, mutiny, hatching a conspiracy and carrying weapons in the dockyard,” Hammad’s father Retired Major Saeed Ahmed told a national daily.
According to the report, the attackers were planning to hijack the warship PNS Zulfiqar to use it in an attack on one of the US navy’s refuel ships. Two militants had been killed and four others were apprehended by security personnel during the attack.
Saeed said that the naval authorities did not provide his son the right to a fair trial. “I wrote a letter to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the navy on August 15, 2015, asking him to provide the opportunity of a defence counsel to my son,” he said.
“The navy JAG on September 21 replied that the option of defence counsel would be available at the time of trial.” Saeed said that he was waiting for the commencement of the trial when someone recently informed him that his son had been shifted to the Karachi central prison.
The retired army officer came to know about the conclusion of the trial and capital punishment when he went to Karachi and met his son and his four colleagues — Irfanullah, Muhammad Hammad, Arsalan Nazeer and Hashim Naseer — in prison.
“My son told me that a naval court had awarded death penalty to him and four other officers after a secret trial,” he claimed. “The convicted officers informed me that the naval court concluded the trial on April 12 and promulgated the sentence on April 14.” He said that naval authorities did not provide him copies of the proceedings of the trial when he approached them for the same.
The convict’s father said that he would file an appeal against the judgement before the naval court of appeal. He claimed that his son and others had been made scapegoats, as this was not the first time when such security lapses came to light.
He said the five officers had been in the navy for only four to five years and they were not capable of seizing a warship and using it for a banned outfit. So far Pakistan Navy has not commented on the death sentences.