Executions: 12 convicted murderers sent to the gallows

Highest number of hangings in one day since moratorium on death penalty lifted

Our Correspondents/afp March 18, 2015
Highest number of hangings in one day since moratorium on death penalty lifted. STOCK IMAGE


Twelve convicted murderers were hanged on Tuesday in jails across the country, the highest number in a single day since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif revoked a six-year moratorium on capital punishment on December 17, 2014.

The mass executions came amid uproar by rights crusaders over the scheduled hanging of Shafqat Hussain who, they say, was a juvenile when condemned to death by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi for kidnapping and killing a seven-year-old boy in 2004.

A spokesperson for the interior ministry said of the 12 executed on Tuesday: “They were not only terrorists, they included the other crimes, some of them were murderers and some did other heinous crimes.”

Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada confirmed that 10 of the convicts were hanged in his province. “Today 10 convicts were hanged in different jails of the province,” he told AFP, adding that further executions would be carried out for those “whose mercy petitions have been rejected”.

According to the breakdown, Mubashar Abbas, Muhammad Sharif and Muhammad Riaz were executed at the District Jail Jhang. Abbas and Sharif had been convicted for killing a taxi driver in 1998, while Riaz had been sentenced to death for killing a relative in 1995.

Malik Muhammad Nadeem Zaman and Muhammad Javed were hanged to death at Rawalpindi’s Adaila Jail. Javed had murdered his cousin in 1997, while Zaman had murdered his father, two sisters and a nephew in 1998.

Similarly, Muhammad Nawaz was sent to the gallows at the Central Jail Faisalabad for killing a man, Maqsood Ahmed, in 1992. Zafar Iqbal was executed at the Central Jail Multan for sexually assaulting and killing a seven-year-old girl in 1996. The execution of another convict, Waqar Nazir, was cancelled after he reached an agreement with the aggrieved party. He had killed a man in 1996 during a robbery bid in Lodhran district.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Afzal Qureshi and Muhammad Faisal were hanged to death at the Central Jail Karachi. Qureshi, Faisal and another accused, Kashif, were sentenced to death by an ATC in 1999 for killing a man, Abdul Jabbar, during a robbery bid in the Korangi neighbourhood. Kashif had died in prison in 2006.

Minutes before Qureshi was executed, he said: “A senior police officer should determine if cases are to be registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).” Quoting Qureshi, a jail official said not every case fell under the ATA. His family maintained that he was a minor when he was sentenced to death.

Lawyers representing Shafqat Hussain left for Islamabad to meet Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who had said Shafqat’s execution would not be stayed. According to the Justice Project Pakistan, Shafqat was 14 years old when he was sentenced to death. His brothers said he had met Qureshi and Faisal before they were hanged. “He [Shafqat] has been crying continuously, thinking about his own hanging.”

Over in the Central Jail Dera Ghazi Khan, an hour before Asghar Ali – who had gunned down his nephew some 15 years ago – was to be hanged, the victim’s mother (Ali’s sister) showed up at the prison with a written application that said she would forgive Ali if he were to transfer 36 kanals of land in her name. Jail sources said he was not executed and his case would be forwarded to the Supreme Court.

Scheduled executions

Asad Muhammad Khan, who used to work as a data entry clerk at NADRA, will be executed at the District Jail Attock on Wednesday. He had killed his wife, daughter and three neighbours in Dhok Suleman Shah near Islamabad.

Another convicted murderer, Azhar Mehmood will be executed on Wednesday. Muhammad Zaman was also supposed to be hanged for killing a man, but the victim’s family has decided to forgive him if he pays Rs1 million under Qisas before March 25.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2015.


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