IHC seeks responses from prime minister, president, others in Shafqat Hussain case

Death row convict had filed a plea for the formation of a judicial inquiry

Rizwan Shehzad April 17, 2015

ISLAMABAD:  Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday directed all respondents, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain to submit replies within a fortnight pertaining to Shafqat Hussain's petition calling for a judicial inquiry that will determine his age.

The court comprising Justice Athar Minallah issued pre-admission notices to respondents, comprising the premier, president, the interior ministry, IG prison Sindh and the National Commission for Human Rights among others, after which the court will decide if the petition is maintainable or not.

Read: Shafqat Hussain's execution formally halted for 30 days

In today's hearing, death row convict Shafqat Hussain through his counsel stated that there was prima facie evidence that he was a juvenile when the trial court sentenced him to death in 2004.

The counsel also said that in light of the petitioner's birth certificate, the death sentence prima facie deprived the petitioner of certain fundamental rights enshrined in the Juvenile Justice System.

Further, Shafqat’s counsel added that at the time of his trial he remained an undocumented juvenile and lacked any appropriate government identification records pertaining to his date of birth. Hussain, at the time was presumed to be an adult and was tried accordingly.

Read: Shafqat Hussain dressed in white for hanging before last-minute stay

In the petition Shafqat’s lawyer stated: "The death sentence of the petitioner is in violation of the applicable laws and is even more astonishing given that the state has failed to discharge its responsibility for establishing a juvenile’s age prior to prosecuting him."

Shafqat’s counsel further requested the court to declare that his age would only be determined by a duly constituted judicial inquiry.

The council requested the court to declare that the the inquiry committee of the interior ministry and the Federal Investigation Agency unlawful and directed the respondents to submit before the court all records, documents, affidavits, statements and supporting documents pertaining to the petitioner.

Read: Shafqat Hussain's execution halted for 72 hours

The court issued pre-admission notices to all respondents with directions to submit contents pertaining to the case within a fortnight.

Once the comments are received in court, if the court deems fit, then they would be issued with notices for regular hearing.


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