ATC reissues death warrants for Saulat Mirza, to be hanged on April 1

Published March 24, 2015
Mirza was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in May 1999 for murdering the managing director of then named Karachi Electric Supply Corporation Shahid Hamid, his driver Ashraf Brohi and guard Khan Akbar in July 1997. -DawnNews screengrab
Mirza was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in May 1999 for murdering the managing director of then named Karachi Electric Supply Corporation Shahid Hamid, his driver Ashraf Brohi and guard Khan Akbar in July 1997. -DawnNews screengrab

KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi on Tuesday reissued death warrants for former Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) worker Saulat Mirza setting him up for execution on April 1.

Mirza was sentenced to death by an ATC in May 1999 for murdering the managing director of then named Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) chief Shahid Hamid, his driver Ashraf Brohi and guard Khan Akbar in July 1997.

He was moved along with four high-profile prisoners to the Machh jail, Balochistan, in April 2014.

Last week Mirza's execution was postponed for 72 hours. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had said the target killer’s execution was stayed as “he is not well enough to be executed”.

Know more: Jail administration seeks fresh death warrant of Saulat Mirza

The administration of Machh central jail had sent a letter to the ATC, seeking fresh death warrants of Saulat Mirza, Superintendent Machh Jail Muhammad Ishaq Zehri had told Dawn.com.

"Death warrant issued earlier has expired after postponement of Mirza's execution," he added.

Mirza was scheduled to be executed on March 19 at 5.30am, but his hanging was postponed at eleventh hour following a presidential order.

Inquiry committee formed to probe into Mirza's video recording

The Balochistan government has formed an inquiry committee to probe into the video Saulat Mirza recorded at Machh Jail.

Inspector General Prisons BalochistanB ashir Ahmed Bangulzai will head the four-member committee.

"The committee will submit its report within a week," Bashir Ahmed Bangulzai told DawnNews.

Additional Secretary Home Naseer Ahmed Nasar, Superintendent Machh Jail Ishaq Zehri and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) police would also be part of the committee.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti had ordered an inquiry into the video recording on March 19.

Also reads: Killed KESC chief on Altaf Hussain's orders, Saulat Mirza claims

Last week, Saulat Mirza, in a video statement aired on Geo News, hurled startling allegations on MQM and its top leadership, just a few hours before his execution was scheduled to take place.

Mirza had said he was an MQM worker and had received direct orders from MQM leader Babar Ghauri to assassinate KESC chief Shahid Hamid.

“I was summoned at Babar Ghauri’s house where I took Altaf Hussain’s orders via telephone. Altaf Hussain would usually pass on instructions through Babar Ghauri,” he had alleged.

Speaking to ARY News, MQM Chief Altaf Hussain said, "Without any proof or evidence, Saulat Mirza's statement will not have any effect on the party."

Altaf had termed the allegations a conspiracy against MQM.

Speaking to Geo News, Babar Ghauri had dismissed Mirza’s statement as a “fable” and denied having given any order for a murder.

"I have no vested interest in making these allegations at this hour. I just want to leave a message for those who wish to join, or are part of political organisations, to learn from my mistakes," the death-row inmate had said.

Previously a resident of Block J in North Nazimabad, Karachi, Saulat was his parents’ fourth child.

Explore: A death cell for a triple murderer

Having received his intermediate education from Pakistan Shipowners' College in Karachi, he became active in student politics and joined the All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organisation (APMSO), the students’ wing of MQM, then an acronym for Mohajir Qaumi Movement.

His name first appeared on intelligence and security agencies’ radar in 1994, after the killing of two US diplomats at Karachi’s Shahrah-i-Faisal and murder of four workers of an American oil company, Union Texas, near PIDC bridge.

He was believed to have been arrested from Karachi airport after his arrival from Bangkok; police confirmed his arrest at a press conference on December 11, 1998.

During that press conference, in the presence of the then Karachi DIG, Ameen Qureshi, Saulat Mirza made revelations about his involvement in the murder of scores of innocent people, including several high-profile personalities.

Mirza was initially detained by FIA immigration officials for traveling on a fake identity but was handed over to the then Station House Officer (SHO) of Gulbahar police station, Mohammad Aslam Khan (Chaudhry Aslam), who was also present at the airport on intelligence reports.

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