KARACHI - An antiterrorism court on Thursday issued a black warrant for the execution of a condemned prisoner, said to be a juvenile when convicted, and asked the jail authorities to hang him till death on March 19.
Shafqat Hussain was condemned to death by an ATC in September 2004, when he was said to be under 18 years, for killing a seven-year-old boy in April 2004.
Earlier, the jail authorities had approached the trial court and asked it to issue a fresh black warrant for the hanging of the death row prisoner since the government had lifted an interim stay against his execution.
Judge Saleem Raza Baloch of the ATC-III issued the black warrant against the death row prisoner and asked the superintendent of the Karachi central prison to hang him till death on March 19 at 5:30am 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 the requisite requirements and return the death warrant with endorsement certifying that the sentence had been executed.
The then judge of ATC-III, Arshad Noor Khan, had sentenced Shafqat Hussain to death on Sept 1, 2004, imposed a fine and also ordered confiscation of his property worth Rs100,000 (S$1,400).
The Sindh High Court upheld the death sentence under Section 7 (e) (kidnapping for ransom) of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and set aside the conviction under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code and sentenced him five years term under Section 319 (unintentional murder) of the PPC and asked him to pay diyat (compensation).
The Supreme Court dismissed his appeal in October 2007 while the review petition of the death row prisoner was also turned down by the apex court in December 2007. The president dismissed his mercy petition in July 2012.
The death row prisoner has been dodging death since 2012 as implementation on his black warrants, repeatedly issued by the trial court, was stayed as the Pakistan Peoples Party government which had placed a moratorium on executions after coming into power in 2008.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government lifted it on Dec 17, 2014 in the wake of the Peshawar school carnage.
The condemned prisoner moved the high court against his possible hanging, which was dismissed by the SHC on Dec 24.
On the request of jail authorities, the trial court issued a fresh black warrant for his execution on Jan 14. But the interior ministry stayed his hanging citing that the issue of his age was yet to be examined.
The ministry later through a notification stated that the government had completely reinstated capital punishment for all offences that entail the death penalty.