KARACHI: Two death row convicts who were scheduled to be hanged on March 5 got a new lease of life on Monday when the Sindh High Court suspended their execution.
A two-judge bench was hearing the constitutional petition of the mothers of the condemned prisoners — Faisal and Afzal — who were handed down capital punishment by an antiterrorism court in July 1999 for murdering a man during a botched robbery attempt in Korangi in 1998.
The two women had petitioned the SHC submitting that their sons could not be executed as they had been pardoned by the legal heirs of the victim.
Their counsel, Advocate Ali Gohar, submitted before the judges that the ATC issued death warrants for the execution of the two convicts despite the fact that the petitioners had entered into a compromise with the victim’s family, who accordingly pardoned the convicts.
He asked the court to suspend the operation of the death warrants.
While disposing of the matter, the division bench observed that it could not pass any judgement on the compromise plea moved by the families of the convicts and the victim because the SHC had already dismissed the appeals of the two convicts against their conviction and its decision was also upheld by the Supreme Court.
The petitioners’ counsel requested the bench to allow the victim’s family to approach the trial court and in the meantime suspend the operation of their black warrants.
The bench that comprised Justices Ahmed Ali M. Sheikh and Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro observed that the victim’s family may file an application before the trial court for its disposal in accordance with the law. The bench suspended the operation of the black warrants till March 6.
MQM worker’s ‘custodial death’
The same bench expressed extreme displeasure over the failure of the provincial government to form a judicial commission to probe the alleged custodial death of a worker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Faraz Alam.
The victim’s maternal uncle Syed Mateen Hussain filed a constitutional petition seeking a judicial inquiry into the killing, stating that his nephew was picked up from his Malir residence on Dec 28, 2014.
He said that the Khokhrapar police falsely implicated Alam in various criminal cases and later he was remanded in police custody for seven days by a judicial magistrate for further interrogation.
The petitioner said his nephew died due to severe torture in police custody and asked the court to order a judicial probe into Alam’s death and also to order the registration of an FIR against the responsible police officers.
The bench became irked when it learnt that no comments were so far filed by the provincial authorities for forming the judicial commission.
The bench directed the respondent provincial authorities to submit the notification for forming the judicial commission in court with two weeks.
Published in Dawn March 3rd , 2015