Pakistan News

Another black warrant issued for Shafqat Hussain

Another black warrant issued for Shafqat Hussain

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court issued on Friday a black warrant for the execution of a condemned prisoner and asked the jail authorities to send him to the gallows on May 6.

Shafqat Hussain was condemned to death by an antiterrorism court in September 2004 as he was found guilty of killing a seven-year-old boy after kidnapping him for ransom in April 2004 within the jurisdiction of the New Town police station.

The Sindh High Court upheld the death sentence in kidnapping for ransom and set aside the conviction in premeditated murder and converted it into unintentional murder.

The Supreme Court dismissed his appeal in October 2007 while the review petition was also turned down by the apex court in December 2007. The president of Pakistan dismissed his mercy petition in July 2012.

On March 12, the trial court had issued a black warrant for the condemned prisoner and asked the jail officials to hang him till death in the early hours of March 19.

However, the jail superintendent through a letter informed the court on March 24 that the presidency had stayed the execution for 30 days to determine whether or not the condemned man was a juvenile when he committed the offence.

The execution of death row prisoner was stayed just a few hours before he was to be hanged.

The jail authorities approached the trial court on Thursday and asked it to issue a fresh black warrant for the hanging of the death row prisoner since the stay order had ended.

The sources said that the Federal Investigation Agency submitted its inquiry to the interior ministry in which the condemned prisoner was shown to be around 23 years at the time of committing the offence.

ATC-III Judge Saleem Raza Baloch issued a black warrant against the death row prisoner and asked the superintendent of the central prison Karachi to hang him till death on May 6 at 4:30am as per the jail manual.

The court also asked the jail authorities to carry out the execution under the supervision of the area magistrate after observing all requisite requirements and return the death warrant with endorsement certifying that the sentence had been executed.

The condemned prisoner had been dodging death since 2012 as implementation on black warrants, which were repeatedly issued by the trial court, were stayed because the Pakistan Peoples Party government had placed a moratorium on execution after coming to power in 2008.

But in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government lifted the moratorium in December last year.

The condemned prisoner moved the SHC against his possible hanging. However, the SHC dismissed his petition on Dec 24 for not being maintainable.

Thereafter, non-governmental organisations and the media raised voice against his hanging for his being reportedly underage saying that he was allegedly 14-year-old when he committed the offence.

The prosecution said that Shafqat Hussain was a watchman of Nadeem Arcade and he kidnapped Umair, the son of a car dealer, when the latter came downstairs from his second-floor apartment. The accused took the boy to his room and hit him in the head with a club when he insisted on leaving and the boy died instantly and he dumped the body in a nearby drain, it added.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2015

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