ISLAMABAD: A paraplegic death-row inmate will be executed in the coming days at the Faisalabad jail, his mother and an international rights group said on Saturday. Abdul Basit, 43, has been paralysed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair since contracting meningitis in prison in 2010.

According to his lawyer and family, he has been on death row since 2009 after being convicted of killing a man over a financial dispute in Punjab.

On Saturday, Basit’s mother Nusrat Perveen said jail officials had asked her to have a final meeting with her son on Tuesday before he is hanged the following morning.

“I am in a state of shock. I appeal to the president and prime minister of Pakistan to pardon my son on medical and humanitarian grounds,” she said.

The decision has been severely criticised by rights groups.

“It is bewildering that Pakistan has revived its appalling plans to hang a man who is unable to stand,” said Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, an international human rights organisation.

Sara Belal, a lawyer at the Justice Project Pakistan legal aid group, condemned the decision to once again schedule Basit for execution.

Basit’s mother said she sent a mercy petition to the president weeks ago to pardon her son but received no reply.

“In September, jail officials were taking my son towards the gallows on his wheelchair when his execution was halted on medical grounds,” she said.

Ms Perveen said she saw rope scars on the wrists of her son when she met him a week after the halting of his execution.

“I am again waiting for a miracle to happen,” she said.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2015

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