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Karachi

January 10, 2015

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After execution stay, Shafqat Hussain’s plea dismissed

Karachi
The Sindh High Court (SHC) dismissed on Friday the plea of Shafqat Hussain against his capital punishment after the government confirmed his case would be revisited.
The federal government stayed the execution of the death row convict for re-examining whether or not his case fell under the government policy to hang convicts associated with banned militant outfits, a provincial law officer told the judges at the hearing.
Hussain was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi convicting him of kidnapping and murdering a seven-year-old boy in 2004.
Soon after the moratorium on death penalty was lifted after the Peshawar school attack, black warrants of six death row convicts, including Hussain, were issued. The petitioner, Hussain’s brother Gul Zaman, contended that Hussain was not affiliated with any terrorist or banned militant outfit, and his case did not come under the policy to execute terrorism convicts.
He alleged the black warrant issued for his brother was obtained in an arbitrarily manner and was without any justification.
The mercy appeals of the convict was also rejected by the president in haste and without due consideration.
Jail superintendent Kazi Naseer Ahmed showed the judges a letter from the interior ministry regarding the execution of Hussain, in which the provincial government was requested to re-examine the case in light of the federal government’s policy for executions.
The Sindh government was asked to confirm whether Hussain’s case came under the parameters for capital punishments of convicts in terrorism cases, especially those associated with banned organisations. In the meantime, the letter stated, Hussain’s execution was not to be carried out.
In view of the federal government’s letter, the judges dismissed the petition after the plaintiff agreed not to press with the matter.

To be hanged
The court also dismissed the pleas of two other death row

convicts against their executions, observing the high court could not revisit their cases as the petitioners had already exhausted all available remedies.
Behram Khan and Mohammad Saeed were sentenced to death by anti-terrorism courts convicting them of murdering a retired police officer Sadiq Hussain Shah and his son Abid Hussain Shah in February 2001, and killing a lawyer, Mohammad Ashraf, in April 2003. Their appeals had been rejected by the high court and the Supreme Court as well. The convicts’ lawyers argued that their mercy appeals were rejected by the president in haste and without due consideration. Behram’s counsel claimed his client was not associated with any terrorist organisation and his execution should be stayed. Saeed’s lawyer argued there were several judgments of superior courts in which convicts who had served considerable jail time were not subjected to double punishments.
However, the SHC division bench headed by Mohammad Ali Mazhar observed the petitioners had exhausted all available options and the court could not revise the judgments of their cases.

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