Call for review of president’s power to pardon Hudood convict

Updated January 25, 2020

Email

“Once a person has been convicted in a court of law, only heirs should have the right to pardon in a murder case of their loved one and not someone else,” Haq told the Senate Standing Commit­tee on Law and Justice. — File photo courtesy of DawnNewsTV
“Once a person has been convicted in a court of law, only heirs should have the right to pardon in a murder case of their loved one and not someone else,” Haq told the Senate Standing Commit­tee on Law and Justice. — File photo courtesy of DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq on Friday urged a parliamentary committee to review Article 45 of the Constitution to withdraw the president’s power to pardon a person convicted in Hudood and Qisas cases.

“Once a person has been convicted in a court of law, only heirs should have the right to pardon in a murder case of their loved one and not someone else,” Mr Haq told the Senate Standing Commit­tee on Law and Justice.

The bill seeking an amendment to Article 45 of the Constitution titled “President’s power to grant pardon” was moved in the Senate by Mr Haq on Jan 20.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had referred the matter to the committee despite its initial opposition by the government.

Article 45 of the Constitu­tion says: “The President shall have powers to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority.”

The Jamaat chief said he believed that the president must have the powers to pardon sentences, but there were a few punishments that had been announced by Allah and his Prophet (peace be upon him) like in Hudood and Qisas cases.

Speaking in support of the bill, Mr Haq said: “The Council of Islamic Ideology has already given an opinion on granting clemency. The CII should be consulted in this regard.”

In his statement of objective, Mr Haq said that the head of state was vested with similar powers in almost all constitutions of the world as provided by Article 45 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Every country recognises and has, therefore, provided for the power to be exercised as an act of grace or mercy in proper cases. It is well recognised that without such a power of clemency to be exercised by some department or functionary of the government, a country would be most imperfect and deficient in its political morality.

He argued that pardoning power is founded on consideration of pubic good and is to be exercised on grounds of public welfare, which is the legitimate object of all punishments.

He said that the executive clemency also existed to afford relief from undue harshness in the operation or enforcement of law.

However, in cases of Had, the right of pardon is with a wali only, and no one else can exercise this right except wali, he said.

The chairman of the committee, Javed Abbasi, decided to invite the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology and relevant legal experts in the next meeting for further deliberations on the subject.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2020