LAHORE: District and Sessions Judge Tariq Iftikhar Ahmed has fixed for July 29 the execution of an Afghan citizen sentenced to death in a murder and robbery case.
The execution of Saeed Muhammad was earlier fixed for June 17. It was halted on the request of the Central jail superintendent because the family of the convict, living in Afghanistan, could not be reached for a last meeting with him.
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Under Section 352 of the Pakistan Prison Rules of 1978, it is mandatory for the prison authorities to communicate to the next of kin the date and time of execution of death row convicts. The section grants death row convicts the right to meet their relatives before their execution.
When contacted for information about the convict’s relatives, the Afghan embassy in Islamabad had sought a temporary suspension of the execution till an Afghan consul could visit the convict in the jail. The embassy had also stated that it was possible for Muhammad’s relatives to visit him or to receive the body after execution.
The embassy had also expressed deep concern over ‘last-minute intimation’ of the execution of an Afghan citizen. It regretted that the diplomatic and consular representatives of Afghanistan were not informed about the case during the trial to ensure due process for their citizen. The embassy said that its communication with one of Muhammad’s former cellmates suggested that due process of law was not followed in the trial. It said Muhammad had expressed his reservations about the trial to the former inmate.
Later, meetings were arranged between the convict and Ahmed Shakir Qamar and Nabib Ullah Ibrahim, representatives of the Afghan embassy, as well as his brother Sultan Ahmed, who had flown in from Afghanistan.
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Saeed Muhammad was convicted of shooting and killing Muhammad Sharif and injuring Sharif’s nephew Hafiz Shehbaz on resisting a robbery at their house in Shahdra Town.
Correction: An earlier version of this article had incorrectly noted that executions of 20 death row convicts had been stayed for their last meeting with families. The error is regretted.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2015.
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