Shafqat Hussain to be hanged on June 9

Published June 1, 2015
Shafqat Hussain will be hanged on June 9. — DawnNews screengrab
Shafqat Hussain will be hanged on June 9. — DawnNews screengrab

KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court in Karachi on Monday issued death warrant for condemned prisoner Shafqat Hussain, and ordered his execution on June 9.

Superintendent Central Jail Karachi wrote a letter to the judge of ATC III, saying that the stay period of Shafqat's execution is over, and therefore a black warrant be issued for the hanging of the death row prisoner.

ATC III judge issued a death warrant for the condemned prisoner with directives to hang him till death on June 9 at 4:30 am under the supervision of a judicial magistrate, and submit a compliance report after executing him.

Shafqat was arrested and sentenced to death in 2004 for the kidnapping and involuntary murder of a seven-year-old boy, who lived in a Karachi apartment building where he worked as a security guard.

All courts in the land had turned down his appeals and the Supreme Court threw out a review petition that was the first to raise the matter of Shafqat’s juvenility at the time of arrest, maintaining that this line of defence should have been introduced at the trial court level.

Previously Shafqat's legal team, insisted that Shafqat’s earlier defence attorneys did not plead his case competently, which was why this aspect was overlooked in the past. Just over two month ago, before Shafqat was scheduled to be executed, he was granted a last-minute reprieve and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had ordered an inquiry into the matter, which was tasked with establishing the veracity of the lawyers’ contention that Shafqat was a minor at the time of sentencing.

The case also garnered a lot of attention on social and mainstream media and became a bone of contention between supporters and opponents of the death penalty.

Last month, an executive inquiry to determine whether Shafqat was a juvenile at the time of his sentencing concluded that he was 23 years old when the punishment was handed down.

Take a look: FIA inquiry concludes Shafqat ‘wasn’t a minor’

According to the text of the report, seen by Dawn, a three-member Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) inquiry team, led by Deputy Director Gulfam Nasir Warraich, had found “absolutely no contradiction in the record (which includes his pictures at the time of arrest) that Shafqat Hussain was 23 years of age at the time of arrest”.

Shafqat had been due to face the noose on January 14 but the government halted the execution amid protests about his age, and ordered an investigation.

Explore: Shafqat's execution stayed for 30 days, jail authorities tell ATC

He was then set to be executed on March 19 but a day before the sentencing civil society representatives gathered in front of the presidency against the order. The hanging was subsequently postponed for 72 hours and then for 30 days.

Death warrants for Shafqat Hussain were issued for the third time on April 24 after an executive inquiry by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) concluded that he was 23 years of age when the punishment was handed down.

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