ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain put off on Friday the execution of Saulat Mirza for a month, raising the possibility that the death-row prisoner’s statement in which he implicated Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders in targeted killings could be investigated.
The development came on the same day an MQM delegation called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to express concerns over the ongoing operation in Karachi by Rangers.
A statement by the Prime Minister Office said it sent a summary to President Hussain seeking a one-month extension in the execution of Mirza.
The statement said: “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has advised President Mamnoon Hussain to extend the order of holding in abeyance the death sentence of Saulat Mirza for a period of 30 days starting from April 1.”
A source in the presidency said President Hussain had approved the summary and now the convict would be executed on April 30.
On March 19, just a few hours before Mirza was to be executed, the president stayed his hanging for three days after the convict sought more time to give information regarding target killers and their alleged patrons.
According to a source, Mirza would be produced before a judicial magistrate soon so that his statement could be recorded formally.
Saulat Mirza was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court on May 24, 1999 for killing the-then managing director of KESC, Shahid Hamid, his driver and guard on July 5, 1997. He was arrested on Dec 10, 1998 at Karachi airport upon his return from Bangkok.
In a video clip telecast on the night he was supposed to be hanged, Mirza alleged that he had received the ‘order’ for the ‘hit’ from MQM chief Altaf Hussain at the residence another party leader Babar Ghauri. The claims were rejected by the party.
Last Tuesday an anti-terrorism court issued a black warrant for Mirza for April 1 but now his hanging has been put off till April 30.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2015