Will Kanizan be the first woman to be executed?

Published: June 23, 2015
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STOCK IMAGE A resident of Toba Tek Singh, Kanizan was handed the death penalty for seven murders that she carried out with her accomplice and lover Khan Muhammad in 1989.  STOCK IMAGE

LAHORE: Fifty-four-year-old Kanizan may in time claim the dubious distinction of being the first woman to be executed.

In her ardour for the love of one man, Kanizan has now languished in jail for 26 years. A resident of Toba Tek Singh, Kanizan was handed the death penalty for seven murders that she carried out with her accomplice and lover Khan Muhammad in 1989. Khan was hanged in 2003, but so far, Kanizan has escaped execution because she is mentally unwell. Her appeals were earlier dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Kanizan was recently shifted from Multan Women’s Jail to Kot Lakhpat Jail for execution. Jail authorities, however, found her mental condition unstable and admitted her to the Punjab Institute of Mental Health in Lahore, where she is still under treatment.

Superintendent of Kot Lakhpat Jail, Asad Javed Warraich, told The Express Tribune that finding her mentally unwell, jail authorities have sent a reference to the Punjab home department for a final decision about her execution. The only obstacle to her hanging is her mental condition, otherwise, she would have been executed already, he said.

Read: Rising numbers: Panel voices concern over expat executions

Kanizan is accused of killing five minor siblings and their mother, who were found slaughtered at their house in Kukranwala village on July 28, 1989. Khan Muhammad had registered an FIR against an unidentified accused for killing his eight-month pregnant wife Mariam Bibi  and children Shaukat Ali, 4, Razia,6, Liaqat Ali, 7, Hanifan Bibi, 9, and Aslam Ali, 13.

It later turned out that it was Muhammad himself who had committed the murders. After his arrest, Muhammad confessed to the multiple killings in connivance with Kanizan. The police also arrested Kanizan and charged them both of individually killing three people with an axe and a knife.

Wahab Bub, a resident of the same village, said after the murders, the area’s residents and people from neighbouring villages boycotted Kanizan and all of her relatives. He passed judgement about her previous  marriages and her love for Khan.

Read: In the last six months, Pakistan has executed more people than Saudi Arabia

Khan’s nephew Muhammad Imran said the two had initially claimed that their djinns had made them kill the family, but it was revealed during investigations that Khan had killed his family so he could marry Kanizan.

At present, Kanizan remains the only condemned woman prisoner whose appeals against the execution have been dismissed by the Supreme Court as well as the President of Pakistan. The total number of condemned women prisoners in Punjab stand at 47.

There are no other clemency appeals of condemned women prisoners from Punjab pending before the president, the Federal Shariat Court or the General Headquarters of Pakistan Army. Four appeals of condemned women prisoners from the province are pending before the Supreme Court, while 42 appeals of women prisoners are pending before the Lahore High Court.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2015.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Neutral
    Jun 23, 2015 - 9:30AM

    If crime has no discrimination , then punishment shouldn’t either be !Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jun 23, 2015 - 9:32AM

    The crime she has committed is unbearable. But her condition and the number of years she already spent in Jail, the punishment may be reconsidered !Recommend

  • shehryar
    Jun 23, 2015 - 9:49AM

    note to our one-track, terrorism-waziristan-obsessed filmmakers: here’s a story crying out to be filmed! Recommend

  • waqas
    Jun 23, 2015 - 11:32AM

    No to gender discrimination — please execute her ASAP.Recommend

  • Ck
    Jun 23, 2015 - 11:43AM

    I can’t understand the logic of executing a mad woman !!! Recommend

  • Blister
    Jun 23, 2015 - 2:30PM

    The law lost the authority to carry out the punishment when they delayed it. Now 26 years later they have no moral authority to carry out the sentence at the same intensity. It is our judicial system and law enforcers to blame here.Recommend

  • A
    Jun 23, 2015 - 2:52PM

    such misrepresenting headlines of such a news piece should be checked … this is about a crime not a gender issue! get your headlines rite ET!Recommend

  • shakil
    Jun 23, 2015 - 3:02PM

    seven murders including unborn child and 6 children! she deserves no mercy!Recommend

  • jameel
    Jun 23, 2015 - 4:17PM

    This cruel lady is jst doin a preplanned dram of madness….she is normal completely nothn happnd to her. .
    Execute her as soon as possible….Recommend

  • Innocent
    Jun 23, 2015 - 7:55PM

    Whatever the sentence, she is a psychopath murderer and cannot be let out in the society!Recommend

  • Zaheer
    Jun 23, 2015 - 10:32PM

    The NAP was formed to hand terrorists and militants but so far among 150 executions atleast 20-25 such militants have been hanged while others are the killers who spent more than 10-15 yars in jail, correct me if I am wrong that life imprisonment is about 14 to 25 years and after passing this term in jail it seems unfair with an accused. The question arises here is what the authorities were doing during this whole era? secondly what about the killer of a governor punjab? when Mumtaz Qadri will be hanged? As I believe its not a gender issue whether criminal is a man or a woman but the real issue is how many militants and terrorists have been hanged so far?Recommend

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