ATC dismisses compromise plea of death row prisoners

Published March 7, 2015
The court is likely to issue fresh black warrants for the execution of the convicts within a few days. —Reuters/File
The court is likely to issue fresh black warrants for the execution of the convicts within a few days. —Reuters/File

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Friday threw out a compromise application of two death row prisoners for not being maintainable.

Mohammad Faisal and Mohammad Afzal were sentenced to death by an antiterrorism court in 1999 for killing Abdul Jabbar during a robbery at his house in Korangi in December 1998.

On Feb 21, the trial court issued black warrants and fixed March 5 for their hanging after the jail authorities approached the court for the issuance of death warrants since the appeals and mercy petitions of the convicts had been dismissed.

Know more: Hanging of two condemned prisoners delayed

However, the condemned prisoners moved the Sindh High Court and submitted that they could not be executed as they had been pardoned by the legal heirs of the deceased. The SHC then suspended the operation of the black warrants till March 6 and observed that the parties could move a compromise application before the trial court.

Therefore, the convicts and the complainant party jointly moved a compromise application before the trial court. However, the court questioned the maintainability of the application and asked the lawyers to record their arguments whether the offences were compoundable — in which parties to a dispute could reach a compromise — or otherwise.

The counsel for the condemned prisoners, Ali Gohar and Zafar Ahmed, argued that their application was maintainable as they contended that the offences were compoundable and cited some rulings of the apex court in support of their arguments.

They also said the offence under Section 396 (dacoity with murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code was not established since no recovery was made from the convicts while none of the prosecution witness testified about dacoity during the trial.

Advocate Kamran, the counsel for the complainant, supported the contentions of the convicts’ lawyers.

While referring to some citations of the higher judiciary, he contended that the offence of premeditated murder was compoundable even if it was read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

However, the counsel conceded that ‘dacoity with murder’ was a non-compoundable offence. After hearing arguments of both sides, Judge Anandram Sairani of the ATC-IV dismissed the application for not being maintainable.

The court is likely to issue fresh black warrants for the execution of the convicts within a few days.

The counsel for the condemned prisoners said that they would challenge the order in the high court. However, they added that a certified copy of the order was not provided to them on Friday.

According to the prosecution, the convicts along with their four accomplices broke into the victim’s house for dacoity and killed him when he put up resistance. In the meantime, a police party arrived at the crime scene and arrested them.

The trial court had handed down capital punishment to Kashif, who died in prison in 2006.

A case was lodged against the accused under Section 302 (premeditated murder), 396 (dacoity with murder), 324 (attempt to commit murder), 353 (criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon) and 34 (common intention) of the PPC and Section 13-D of the Pakistan Arms Ordinance, 1965 read with Section 7 of the ATA 1997 at the Korangi police station on a complaint of the son of the deceased.

Published in Dawn March 7th, 2015

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