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CJP Khosa seeks to review life imprisonment law

Updated June 17, 2019

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Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa says interpretation of life imprisonment law is flawed as it is meant to last a lifetime, not 25 years. — Photo courtesy SC website
Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa says interpretation of life imprisonment law is flawed as it is meant to last a lifetime, not 25 years. — Photo courtesy SC website

Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa on Monday said that the current interpretation of the life imprisonment law was flawed and expressed the intent to reexamine it at an "appropriate time".

During the hearing of a review petition of a murder case, Khosa said that the span of life imprisonment is limited to 25 years when it is meant to last a lifetime. He expressed the intent to review the law and said: "We will interpret the law correctly at an appropriate time. Once it happens, convicts will ask for a death sentence instead of life imprisonment.

"Once it happens, we'll see who commits murder."

This is not the first time that the judiciary has made such observations. In 2004, a five-member bench heard as many as 62 appeals that urged the apex court to reinstate death penalty for convicts whose capital punishments were commuted into life imprisonment leading to their release on the basis of remission in their imprisonment periods.

Section 57 of the Pakistan Penal Code, Fractions of terms of punishment, says: "In calculating fractions of terms of punishment, imprisonment for life shall be reckoned as equivalent to imprisonment for twenty-five years."

The Supreme Court, however, had observed in 2004 that the provisions of the aforementioned section, which reckon 25-year imprisonment as transportation for life, only stipulate the calculation of the punishment term which is necessary because certain offences are a fraction of the term of imprisonment prescribed for other offences.