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National

April 1, 2015

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Foreign funding behind ‘Save Shafqat’ campaign

Foreign funding behind ‘Save Shafqat’ campaign
ISLAMABAD: FIA investigations and intelligence agencies reports make the NGO-orchestrated campaign to save condemned killer Shafqat Hussain highly scandalous involving foreign funding for the purpose of getting the death penalty banned in Pakistan.
Sources said that while the FIA would finalise its inquiry in a couple of days, senior federal authorities have been informed by security agencies of alleged foreign funding given to a NGO to run a concocted and baseless campaign of presenting Shafqat Hussain a “juvenile”.
A senior government source said that not only the proof of foreign funding has been secured it has also been confirmed that the purpose of the campaign was to get the death penalty banned in the country by scandalizing and demeaning the country’s criminal justice system.
With regard to the FIA inquiry, recently ordered by the interior ministry into the age controversy of the killer of a seven-year old boy, the agency has done most of its work and is expected to file its report in a couple of days.
According to the sources, the FIA probe so far has found the NGOs campaign totally unfounded and based on lies. The FIA team, which had gone to Karachi to collect evidence and record statements of the witnesses, has found that in police, jail and court records Shafqat Hussain was 23 years of age at the time of the crime i.e 2004.
Additionally, it is said, Shafqat’s age in police, jail and court records was never a bone of contention at any stage.
Statements of the concerned police officers including those who had arrested or probed the killer in 2004 confirmed that Shafqat Hussain was not a 14-year old child but a grown up man at the time of arrest. Some persons living in the building where Shafqat was doing the job of watchman (chowkidar), interviewed by the FIA, also rejected the 14-year age story.The FIA team also secured copies of the culprit’s photo taken by the jail authorities in 2004.
Regarding the recently secured birth certificate by Shafqat’s family, the FIA sources said that on December 22, 2014, town committee Kail of district Neelum issued birth certificate claiming Shafqat to have been born on 1-10-1991. A day before the issuance of the certificate, one Sumairabibi, who claimed to be the sister of the killer, filed an affidavit that in 2004 she was 15 and that Shafqat was one year younger than her.
After the issuance of the birth certificate, Shafqat’s mother Makhani Begum on January 5, 2015 in her affidavit claimed that her killer son was born one or two years after the birth of her daughter Sumaira. The mother claimed that her daughter is now 25 years old.
Besides these affidavits of Shafqat’s family, the FIA sources say there is no official document available which could confirm the belated revelation that Shafqat was 14 and not 23 in 2004. About the system of issuance of birth certificate by the town committee Kail, the FIA sources said that instead of relying on credible birth record, the town committee entirely depended on the affidavit.
One of the FIA officials jokingly commented, “Such is the system there that tomorrow if you want to get a birth certificate of January 1, 2015, you can have it merely on the basis of the affidavit.”
Some NGOs, media and some local and international so-called rights organisations took up the twisted case of Shafqat Hussain only after the December 16, 2014 Peshawar School attack when Pakistan decided to end six years old moratorium on death penalty.
Slogans like “Don’t hang child offender” were attractive enough for the West and the so-called human rights organisations to issue serious warning to Pakistan and portray the country negatively for issuing death penalty.
Such has been the influence of the propaganda that even the UN got befooled as its “human rights experts” in a statement said, “Mr. Hussain was 14 years old when he was arrested in connection with the disappearance of a young boy.”
The UN group even went to the extent of saying that Shafqat’s confessions were obtained after he was reportedly tortured over nine days by police officers after his arrest in 2004. These so-called human rights experts of the UN did neither have the time to go through the court case of the culprit nor know the basic fact that the dead body of the deceased child was recovered from a nullah on the pointing of the killer.
Anti Terror Court had awarded Shafqat Hussain double death penalty. In the Sindh High Court, Shafqat Hussain took the plea that he did not want to kill the child, Umair. The culprit contented that he did not have the intention and High Court Judge accepted that and commuted his death sentence under Section 302 to 5-year imprisonment. However he could not get rid of conviction under 365-A of ATA, which relates to “abduction for ransom”.

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