LAHORE, Nov 13: The reports of the scheduled execution of two prisoners at the Kot Lakhpat Central Jail on Tuesday morning turned out to be false and the Punjab prisons department blamed the jail ministry for releasing wrong information.
Some newspapers had in their Nov 12 editions reported that the two men on death row were to be executed on Tuesday morning. The reports generated a lot of concern among various circles because it would have been the first death sentence during the current government’s tenure.
According to the jail record, Malik Muhammad Ashraf of Pakki Thatthi, Samanabad was awarded death sentence by a sessions court on April 2, 2001. Ashraf was nominated in a triple murder case (113/96, July 24, 1996) registered with the Sabzazar police of his wife Ruqayya, grandson Zaman and maid Shahnaz Bibi.
His appeals were rejected by the LHC, the Supreme Court and the president of Pakistan. The president issued stay order till Dec 31.
Similarly, Tahir Bashir of Jinnah Town, Hanjarwal was awarded capital punishment with Rs50,000 fine by a sessions court on Feb 4, 2002 in connection with the murder case (168/2000) of Arshad Ali. In case of non-payment of fine, he was supposed to face six-month imprisonment.
His appeal also was rejected by the LHC, the SC and the president of Pakistan in different time intervals. He had to be hanged on Nov 13 but the president issued stay till Dec 31.
Quoting an official correspondence between the Kot Lakhpat jail and the Inspectorate of Punjab Prisons on Tuesday, a senior jail official told Dawn that the Lahore district and sessions judge had issued the black warrant for the execution of both prisoners for Nov 13.
The offices of the provincial home department, the Lahore district and sessions judge, the director law of presidency (Islamabad), the Inspectorate of Punjab prisons and other departments concerned were conveyed in written on Nov 2 that the prisoners would be hanged on Nov 13 at 6:30am.
Later, the stay order of prisoners issued by the presidency was received by the jail and all offices concerned were alerted in written on Nov 8 that the federal government had deferred the execution till Dec 31.
The official said the jail authorities informed the IG prisons that no correspondence regarding execution of prisoners had been made with any private institution and the public relations officer of the Punjab prisons ministry.
A Punjab prisons department source said out of approximately 7,000 condemned prisoners, around 5,000 were languishing in Punjab jails. He said the last execution in any Pakistani jail took place in the tenure of President Musharraf in 2007 but the PPP-led government kept issuing stay orders against all executions.
The source further said in the latest order issued by the president, all executions had been deferred till Dec 31.