LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday stayed the execution of Khizar Hayat, a death-row prisoner diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and suspended the warrants issued for his execution by a district and sessions judge in Lahore.

A division bench, headed by Justice Shahid Hameed Dar, passed the order on a petition filed by Hayat’s mother, Iqbal Bano, through Barrister Sarah Belal of the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP).

The lawyer argued that Hayat had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and executing him would violate local and international laws.

She pointed out that a petition against his execution was pending before the same bench wherein a reply had been sought from the home department. Despite that, jail authorities had obtained black warrants for the prisoner.

Barrister Belal said the LHC had previously stayed Hayat’s execution and formed a medical board to examine his health. The board had confirmed that the prisoner was not fit for execution, she added.

She asked the court to suspend the death warrants and stay the execution scheduled for Jan 17.

Justice Dar observed that it would be appropriate to wait for the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Imdad Ali, a mentally ill prisoner, to determine how to proceed in Hayat’s case.

The bench stayed the execution and directed the home department to submit a report by Jan 30.

Hayat was a constable convicted of killing a fellow policeman. Shadbagh police had arrested him in October 2001 and the trial court sentenced him to death in 2003.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2017