No pardon: Fresh black warrants for two death row inmates

Updated March 09, 2015

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Policemen standing guard outside Karachi Central Jail. -Online/File
Policemen standing guard outside Karachi Central Jail. -Online/File

KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Monday issued fresh death warrants for two convicts — Mohammad Faisal and Mohammad Afzal— who will now be hanged on March 17.

Judge Anandram Sairani of the ATC-IV issued black warrants for both condemned prisoners and asked jail authorities to send them to the gallows in the early hours of March 17, under the supervision of a judicial magistrate after fulfilling legal formalities.

Faisal and Afzal were given death sentences by an ATC in 1999 for the killing of Abdul Jabbar during a house robbery in Korangi.

In the aftermath of the Army Public School attack in December last year, the government had lifted its moratorium on death sentences, following which jail authorities had sought black warrants for the two death row inmates on February 21, 2015.

Jail authorities had argued that appeals of both prisoners had been turned down by the superior judiciary, while a mercy petition was also dismissed by President Mamnoon Hussain on February 17.

The ATC approved the jail authorities’ demand, and issued Faisal’s and Afzal’s death warrants a couple of days later, on February 23. They were to be hanged on March 5, 2015, but the two convicts filed a compromise petition with the Sindh High Court (SHC), claiming that their executions could not be carried out because the legal heirs of the deceased had pardoned them.

The SHC, while suspending the black warrants, had allowed the convicts to file a compromise application with the trial court. But on Friday, March 6, 2015, the ATC dismissed their compromise application as not being maintainable.

It was expected that fresh death warrants would be issued for the two death row inmates after the ATC rejected their compromise application. The trial court had also handed down capital punishment to the convicts’ accomplice, Kashif, who died in prison in 2006.

Over 20 condemned prisoners have so far been hanged across the country since the government lifted the moratorium on executions on December 17 last year.