KARACHI: The federal government has issued a stay on the execution of Shafqat Hussain – a death-row convict who was scheduled to be executed on January 14 – and asked the Sindh government to reexamine the case.
The notification – asking the secretary home department to stay the implementation of Shafqat’s execution till further orders – was issued after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday announced to halt the 24-year-old prisoner’s execution.
The jail authorities in Karachi confirmed to The Express Tribune about receiving on Wednesday an official notification staying the hanging.
“We have received a notification from the home department regarding the stay on execution. Shafqat won’t be hanged on January 14,” said Karachi Central Jail’s Superintendent Kazi Nazeer Ahmed.
Shafqat was awarded death penalty by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in 2004, when he was only 14-year-old. The police accused him of kidnapping and killing a seven-year-old boy, who had gone missing from the apartments where Shafqat worked as a watchman.
Later on, the murder charges were dropped but Shafqat was charged with causing accidental death while a death penalty was handed over to him for kidnapping.
Shafqat and Bahram Khan were the first two death-row prisoners in Karachi Central Jail to be issued death warrants, after the government lifted moratorium on executions following an attack on a school in Peshawar.
Lawyers have challenged both hangings, arguing that both prisoners are not terrorists and have no affiliation with any terrorist organisation. However, no stay has arrived on Behram’s execution.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2014.