Early hearing sought in death penalty abolition plea

Petition against executions pending since July 2011.

Our Correspondent August 06, 2012


A human rights activist who approached the Supreme Court in July 2011, seeking abolition of the death penalty, on Monday filed an application in the apex court’s Lahore registry to seek an early hearing of his plea.

Barrister Zafarullah Khan, requesting an early hearing of his petition, said that hundreds of death row prisoners were languishing in jails. Many of them are innocent, he said, adding that it is necessary to fix his earlier petition for a hearing in order to redress injustice.

Khan had filed the petition on behalf of Watan Party, listing the Federation, the Law and Justice Ministry and the Interior Ministry as respondents.

The petitioner says in his plea that the prosecution system in the country left much to be desired. He listed “weak and inefficient” prosecution and corruption that had affected the criminal justice system as reasons because of which many innocent people had been convicted and given the death penalty. He said the execution of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was an example of innocent people being hanged.

Khan has contended that right to life has been guaranteed in Article 9 of the constitution. Ending life through unnatural means, he said, is “inconsistent and incompatible” with the constitutional guarantee of the right to life.

He prayed that the death penalty be abolished after being decalred unconstitutional.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2012.


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