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ATC issues black warrant for Shafqat Hussain, to be executed on March 19

Updated March 12, 2015

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Shafqat Hussain was said to be 14 years old at the time of his conviction. - via Justice Project Pakistan
Shafqat Hussain was said to be 14 years old at the time of his conviction. - via Justice Project Pakistan

KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Thursday issued a death warrant for the execution of a condemned prisoner Shafqat Hussain, who is said to be a juvenile at the time of committing the crime.

Hussain, who is now 23-years-old, is set to be executed on March 19.

Shafqat was arrested and sentenced to death in 2004 for kidnapping and killing a seven-year-old boy from an apartment building in Karachi where he was working as a guard.

In September the same year, Shafqat, said to be 14 years old at the time, was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court. His murder charge was reduced to ‘involuntary manslaughter’ on appeal, but the terrorism charges against him were not quashed.

Take a look: Footprints: Lives and a death on hold

Officials of the Karachi central prison asked the trial court (ATC-III) on Wednesday to issue the fresh black warrant for the hanging of the death row prisoner since the government had lifted an interim stay against his execution.

Know more: New black warrant sought to hang ‘underage’ killer

The appeals and mercy petition of the condemned prisoner had already been rejected by the superior judiciary and the presidency, respectively, they added.

The death row prisoner has been dodging death for the past many years since implementation on his black warrants, repeatedly issued by the trial court, was stayed as the Pakistan Peoples Party government had placed a moratorium on executions after coming into power in 2008.

Also read: Execution of death row prisoner Shafqat Hussain halted

The counsel for the death row prisoner had petitioned the Sindh High Court against his possible hanging stating that he was wrongly convicted as a juvenile in the kidnapping and murder case. However, Earlier this week, Pakistan lifted its moratorium on the death penalty in all capital cases, after initially restarting executions for terrorism offences in the wake of the Taliban Army Public school massacre.