SUKKUR: After dodging death 21 times, Hafiz Jaleel Morejo, who is serving a death sentence in a murder case at the Sukkur Central Jail-I, might have to walk to the gallows on August 22.
His 22nd black warrant was issued on August 1, after the expiry of 21st black warrant on July 31, by the Naushero Feroze district and sessions court. Jaleel’s earlier convictions were postponed due to orders by President Asif Ali Zardari as the Pakistan Peoples Party hoped to amend the death penalty law. But with the new government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in office, Jaleel isn’t too sure if he’ll be as lucky as the last 21 times.
A resident of Chanari village in Naushero Feroze, Jaleel was awarded the death penalty in April 2000. He was in jail for the murder of Haji Muhammad Haroon Morejo in 1997 to avenge the murders of his father and uncle. His first black warrant was issued on March 14, 2008, but his execution was pushed back two months. He filed petitions in the Sindh High Court, followed by the Supreme Court and the president, but they were all dismissed.
After his 17th return trip from the noose, he told The Express Tribune he had tried to tell the world of his innocence. “I am serving a 14-year sentence for a crime I never committed,” he said. Jaleel, a jawan in the 7th Sindh Regiment from 1993 to 1997, is a Hafiz-e-Quran. “Whenever a black warrant is issued for me, I start praying to Allah Almighty,” he said.
His version of events differed from the recorded facts. He said that his father, Abdullah Morejo, was embroiled in a karo-kari dispute with his uncle, Haji Habibullah Morejo, and some other men. The matter was resolved at a jirga. “In accordance with the jirga’s verdict, we married a girl from our side to the Haji Habibullah Morejo group,” he said. “However, my uncle, cousins and other people went against the verdict and raided our land. They killed my father, Abdullah Morejo, and uncle, Maulvi Abdul Haq Morejo. According to him, he was framed by his cousins after they killed their own brother. Haji Haroon Morejo - the man Jaleel was accused of killing - was suffering from cancer.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2013.