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July 30, 2019

SC larger bench to determine duration of life term

Top Story

July 30, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Asif Saeed Khosa Monday directed constitution of a larger bench to determine the exact length of life imprisonment.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, heard a petition, praying for reducing the life sentence of a convict into a half.

Justice Khosa said he had been waiting for a long time for a case where the court could determine the span of a life sentence and now was the time to settle this ambiguity in the law.

Following these remarks, the chief justice ordered the constitution of a larger bench to hear the instant matter.

Last month, while hearing a case related to the same issue, the chief justice had hinted at settling this ambiguity in the law. The chief justice directed the registrar’s office to fix the instant matter for the first week of October and issued notices to the attorney general, provincial advocates general and prosecutor general.

As per details of the case, one Haroonur Rashid was sentenced to death on 10 counts by the trial court. The convict filed an appeal with the high court. The high court maintained the sentence after which he moved to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court converted his death sentence into life imprisonment and ordered that all sentences shall run concurrently. Similarly, in another case Haroonur Rashid was sentenced to death on two counts by a trail court. He challenged his conviction in the high court but his appeal was rejected.

Finally, he moved the Supreme Court to get legal remedy. The Supreme Court converted his death sentence into life imprisonment. On Monday, Zulfiqar Maloka, counsel for Haroonur Rashid, pleaded that the sentences in two different cases should be allowed to run concurrently.

Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, however, observed that life imprisonment was for the whole life. The counsel for the appellant, however, contented that it was a settled law that 25-year imprisonment was sufficient for a convict, adding that the court had already increased life im-prisonment from 14 to 25 years.

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