Jail, police record shows he was 23 when he killed child
By our correspondents
March 22, 2015
ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry’s initial probe into the age of condemned prisoner Shafqat Hussain negates the claim of certain NGOs and civil society that he was a juvenile when he killed a seven-year-old child in 2004. Not only does the jail and police record confirm that the killer was 23 in 2004, but his latest photo obtained by the Interior Ministry shows him to be above 30 now. His 2004 picture, taken soon after his arrest, also negates the propaganda which forced the government to defer his execution for 30 days. The authorities are now considering constituting a medical board to determine the age of the convict. The motives behind the campaign are also being looked into, as the case has also got the attention of the international community because of the NGOs’ false propaganda. Facts show that Shafqat Hussain had not only killed the boy, but also demanded ransom from his parents. Shafqat, presently confined to the Central jail Karachi, had killed the seven-year-old child whose family lived in a flat of the same building where he served as a watchman (chowkidar). The NGOs’ lately discovered Shafqat lured the child into his room and killed him. According to the killer’s confession, he lured the child into showing him a rabbit. Since there was no rabbit and the killer’s intentions were also wrong, the child shouted and tried to run away. Shafqat hit the child on his head with a rod, killing him on the spot. Later he threw the body in a nearby nullah. Since no one suspected him, he started making phone calls to the parents demanding ransom for the release of the child already killed. He was caught red-handed while collecting the ransom money, as the parents had already engaged the police. The phone record also spoke against him. Following the police interrogation, Shafqat not only confessed to his inhuman act, but also took the police to the nullah where he had thrown the child’s body. According to the police record, the killer was admitted to the Central Prison Karachi on May 31, 2004. At the time of his arrest, the killer was 23 years of age. Because of his confessional statement and the relevant evidence, the Anti-Terrorism Court No III Karachi awarded him death on September 1, 2004. According to a police report, the convict filed an appeal with the Sindh High Court against his conviction but the court upheld his death penalty in May 2006. Later, Shafqat approached the Supreme Court, which dismissed his criminal appeal in October 2007. On July 11, 2012, the president also rejected his mercy petition and his execution was fixed for August 8, 2012 but was later postponed till June 30, 2013. His second execution was fixed for August 22, 2013 but the same was also postponed following the Interior Ministry’s letter which held in abeyance all executions. After the December 2014 decision of the government to end the moratorium on the death penalty, Shafqat Hussain’s black warrant was issued on January 14, 2015. But again a letter dated January 6, 2015 issued by the Interior Ministry stayed his execution. Later, the Interior Ministry issued another letter to all the provinces directing them to proceed in cases of condemned prisoners strictly as per the law where all legal options and avenues had been exhausted and mercy petitions rejected. The Sindh Home Department again processed Shafqat Hussain’s case for execution of his death penalty. A black warrant was again issued and he was to be sent to the gallows on March 19 at 05:30 am, but his execution was again postponed initially for three days and later for another 30 days. A reliable Interior Ministry source admitted that the NGOs’ campaign to prove Shafqat Hussain a juvenile had forced the government to stop the execution. The source said a preliminary inquiry into the case showed the campaign was misleading. The source said the age factor, which has been the focus of the NGOs and civil society campaign, had never been an issue before the court or the law at any stage. “We minutely went through all the relevant police and jail records, which proved that the killer was 23 and not 14 in 2004,” the source said, adding that the “juvenile” factor was a recent twist based on ‘sheer lies’. The authorities also question the credibility and authenticity of the recent emergence of a birth certificate of the killer, whose old (2004) as well as latest photos have also been obtained by official quarters concerned to correct the facts. According to a report, Shafqat Hussain’s birth certificate was issued by a local council in Neelum Valley only recently on the basis of an affidavit by the family. Although the police, jail and judicial record of Shafqat Hussain and his old and new photos strongly negate the propaganda, the government may decide for its own satisfaction to get Shafqat’s medical examination done by a team of doctors. However, it is apprehended that the NGOs which are hell-bent on protecting the killer may try to create further complications by using the media. There have been several voices from the civil society and the media too to protect the killer on the basis of sheer lies, but no one has bothered to look into facts or show any feelings for the parents of the young child killed by Shafqat Hussain. However, the NGO campaign may continue and there have been several voices from civil society and the media too to protect the killer.