'Terrorism' too widely defined in Anti Terrorism Act, says SC; recommends Parliament bring changes
Nov 1, 2019
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a judgment reviewing the meaning and scope of the term 'terrorism' as defined in the Anti Terrorism Act, 1997 and recommended that Parliament bring changes to the current understanding of the term, which is "too wide".
The 59-page judgment was authored by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa.
Amnesty: Lowest number of prisoners executed in 2018
Jun 29, 2019
At least 690 prisoners were executed in 20 countries in 2018, marking a 31 percent fall from at least 993 the previous year, according to Amnesty International that reported the fewest deaths by capital punishment in at least a decade.
A total of 2,531 death sentences were also imposed in 54 countries last year, decreasing from 2,591 recorded worldwide in 2017 according to a report published on Wednesday by the UK-based rights group that hailed the significant decline in global executions.
As in previous years, China, where figures believed to be in the thousands are classified as a state secret, remained the most prolific executor, Amnesty said, followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iraq - accounting for 78 percent of total reported executions.
"It's very encouraging that known executions were the lowest at the end of 2018, but it is challenging to define clear reasons for the decreases and whether these reductions will be sustained in the coming years," Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International adviser on the death penalty, told Al Jazeera.
ATC awards death sentence to two murderers
Jun 21, 2019
KARACHI: A special anti-terrorism court awarded the death sentence on Thursday to two convicted of being involved in the murder of a man named Zainulabiddin. The court was hearing two cases against accused, Muhammad Jamil Ahmed and Munir Ahmed, pertaining to Zainulabiddin’s murder, police encounter and illegal weapons. The accused were convicted in both the cases.
The court awarded the death sentence to Jamil and Munir in the murder case, and 10 years imprisonment in the case pertaining to police encounter.
According to police, the convicts opened fire outside the house of Justice Zawar Hussain in Gulshan. Trader Zainulabiddin, who was a friend of Justice Hussain’s son, Sarfaraz, died in the firing incident.
The convicts were arrested after a police encounter and the cases against them were registered at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Police Station in 2011.
Board to examine ‘mentally ill’ prisoner
Nov 1, 2019
A Peshawar High Court bench on Monday ordered the provincial government to constitute a medical board for examining a prisoner who claimed to be suffering from a mental ailment and was unfit to stand trial in a murder case.
The single-member bench of Justice Mussarat Hilali ordered that the trial court should consider the case of the petitioner, Majid Khan, in the light of the report to be submitted by the medical board.
Children, women, Pakistanis among 134 executed in Saudi Arabia
Nov 1, 2019
Saudi Arabia has already executed 134 people so far this year, six of whom were children when they were arrested, a new report has revealed.
The figures, given at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, come despite kingdom's pledge to reduce the use of the death penalty. In 2018, the country killed 149 people, with 46 left on death row by the end of the year. They include three children, political opponents, clerics, and human rights campaigners. Among those executed this year are three women and 51 who were facing drug charges that would be considered minor offences elsewhere in the world.
CJP stays execution of mentally ill prisoner Ghulam Abbas
Jun 21, 2019
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa on Monday stayed the execution of a mentally ill prisoner, Ghulam Abbas, who was to be hanged on June 18.
The CJP gave the directions on an application filed by the Justice Project Pakistan, a human rights law firm, after the Punjab Home Department didn’t allow an independent psychiatrist and two government doctors to visit Adiala Jail and evaluate Abbas.
Imprisoned in 2004, Abbas was sentenced to death on May 31, 2006, by a district and sessions court for stabbing a neighbour.
He has spent more than 13 years on the death row and a new mercy petition has been filed requesting the president to grant him a reprieve.
Death row convict hanged in Haripur jail
Jun 21, 2019
HARIPUR: A death row convict was hanged in the Haripur Central Jail here on Wednesday morning.
Chanzeb, a resident of Peshawar, had been awaiting execution since 2006 when Federal Shariat Court had awarded him death penalty for raping and murdering a minor girl who happened to be his sister-in-law in 1996.
After issuance of his black warrants the jail administration arranged his last meeting with his family on Tuesday. According to jail sources, his execution was carried out at 4.30am amid tight security.
According to deceased’s last will, his real sister received his body and took it to Peshawar for burial.
Death Row Prisoner Executed At Kot Lakhpat Jail
Jun 21, 2019
A condemned prisoner was executed at Kot Lakhpat Jail here on Wednesday. Police said that Muhammad Ashraf had killed three women over matrimonial issue some eighteen years ago.
Masti Gate police had registered the case against the accused and submitted the challan to court.
He was sentenced to death in 2017.
Jun 21, 2019
LARKANA: Larkana Model Trial Court Judge Shyam Lal Ladhani on Monday awarded death sentence and life imprisonment to two brothers and also fined them after they were found guilty of killing two women and a man in the name of honour in 2010.
The case against Ashiq Soomro, Ghulam Akbar Soomro, Deedar Soomro, Aijaz, Riaz and Chanisar Soomro was registered at the Waris Dino Mashi police station on the complaint of Ali Hassan Kosh.
The complainant stated that the accused had murdered Mureed Kosh, Sughra Soomro and Safia Soomro in Wasayo Bhutto village on suspicion of extramarital affairs between the man and the two women.
During the trial in the model court, the allegation was proved against Ashiq Soomro and Ghulam Akbar Soomro. The other accused have been declared absconders.
Executions in Saudi Arabia
Apr 17, 2019
In a travesty of justice, Saudi Arabia on Thursday executed a Pakistani woman. According to Justice Project Pakistan, Fatima Ijaz was the first Pakistani woman to be executed in that country since 2014. She had been incarcerated in the Dhaban prison of Jeddah, facing charges related to drug trafficking.
Justice Nisar suspends execution of mentally ill prisoner Khizar Hayat
Jun 21, 2019
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Saturday took notice of media reports regarding the scheduled execution of Khizer Hayat, a mentally ill prisoner on death row, and announced to suspend his sentence till further orders.
Moreover, the chief justice also fixed the matter for hearing on Monday [January 14], read a statement issued by the Supreme Court.
Earlier in the day, Hayat's mother Iqbal Bano had moved the court calling for the suspension of his death sentence on the grounds of mental illness.
On Friday, a district and sessions judge in Lahore had scheduled the execution of Hayat — a death-row prisoner diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia — for January 15 at the central jail in Kot Lakhpat.
The request filed by Hayat's mother, which was submitted before the court's human rights cell, was reviewed by Chief Justice Nisar. The petition called for the Supreme Court's attention to the fact that a mentally ill prisoner was being sentenced to death.
It has stated that the judgment passed by Lahore High Court "is not in accordance with law and the Prison Rules".
The petition has also argued that the court has "mixed the conviction with execution and thereby has dismissed the writ petition on wrong premises".
It further argued that neither the medical history of the petitioner's son has been taken into account and nor have the medical board's reports been considered which establish the prisoner's ailment.
The petition notes that "the extensive jail medical records establishing the mental ailment of the condemned prisoner are sufficient to withhold the execution of death sentence till the time the condemned prisoner is fully recovered from the ailment".
Moreover, the petition has also stated: "There is no way that Khizar Hayat’s execution can be carried out in a manner that complies with Pakistan’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN Convention against Torture."
Hayat was sentenced to death in 2003 over the shooting of a fellow police officer. He has spent nearly 15 years on death row. He was first diagnosed as a schizophrenic in 2008 by jail medical authorities. In 2010, the jail medical officer recommended that Hayat needed specialised treatment and should be shifted to the psychiatric facility. However, this was never done.
In 2017, the Lahore High Court had stayed the execution of Hayat.
On Monday, a two-member bench comprising Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Sardar Tariq Masoof will hear the case.
Hayat's mother, in a letter, requested the chief justice to visit Kot Lakhpat jail's ward for mentally ill prisoners and investigate what medicines were being given to her son.
She pleaded that his medical records be investigated "to determine why his treatment was not being done properly and why his condition was worsening day by day".
"I read in Dawn that a prisoner named Khizar Hayat has been sentenced to be hanged," the chief justice remarked, inquiring from the Punjab attorney general which jail Hayat was serving his sentence in. The official replied it was Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail.
Justice Nisar asked that it be immediately ascertained if Hayat has been diagnosed as mentally ill and sought a report today.
Meanwhile, Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), which has been contesting the case, has been running a campaign on social media, asking President Arif Alvi to "grant mercy" to Hayat. According to Article 45 of the Constitution, the president has the "power to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority".
Earlier on Saturday, a press conference was organised by the Pakistan Psychiatric Society to call to attention the prisoner's execution.
"All medical officers who have examined Khizar Hayat over the years have found him to be actively exhibiting schizophrenic symptoms," said Dr Usman Ahmad Hotiana of the Pakistan Psychiatric Society. "In 2009, Khizar's mental illness got so severe that he got horribly beaten by his fellow prisoners. His injuries were severe enough to require surgeries. After that, he was put in solitary confinement."
KSA refuses to release Pakistani prisoners involved in drug smuggling
Nov 1, 2019
The Saudi Arabia government has apologised from the immediate release of under-trial Pakistani prisoners involved in drug smuggling.
Foreign ministry officials said Pakistani inmates would complete their trial according to the Saudi law and their release was not possible until their cases were concluded.
Out of the release of 2,100 Pakistani prisoners as was agreed between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan earlier this year, only 563 could be released.
Life After Death
Jun 29, 2019
It is difficult to ascertain the total number of death sentences awarded across Pakistan every year since the government does not collect and collate such data. The only statistics available pertain to military courts that have been authorised, under a constitutional amendment passed in 2015, to hear terrorism-related cases. Between January 2015 and May 2018, these courts have given the death sentence to 207 people. Out of these, at least 56 have been executed.
Pakistan to partially rescind capital punishment
Jun 21, 2019
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday said Pakistan was going to revoke capital punishment for the accused, who will be extradited from other countries.
“We are amending the Pakistan Penal Code to revoke the capital punishment for the accused, who will be brought back to the country under extradition treaties with other countries,” said Qureshi while talking to the media.
The development comes a day after British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt during a joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart in London declared that the UK would not sign “politically-motivated” extradition treaties with any country. Qureshi had assured Hunt that his country would not “misuse” any such agreement, if signed.
Islamabad is seeking extradition of several Pakistani nationals, including the founder of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and former finance minister Ishaq Dar on different charges, including murder and money laundering.
Addressing the media, the foreign minister said according to his observations in Bishkek, India had not yet come out of its election mood.
Qureshi said he visited UK upon the invitation of the British foreign secretary.
“We had some very good meetings during the visit. We talked about the Financial Action Task Force and I assured him that Pakistan is doing everything it can to be removed from its grey list. I apprised Jeremy Hunt with the measures taken by the Pakistani government in this regard,” said Qureshi.
“We are considering an amendment in the PPC according to which capital punishment will not be applicable on the suspects given under extradition.”
The foreign minister also met the Chinese leadership and held talks with them on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
“CPEC is a massive project. It was limited, but now it is being expanded. The nation is in agreement. Narratives come and go, but those who made comments against the CPEC have faced defeat,” the foreign minister said.
Further, the minister said that he had a telephonic conversation with US Secretary Mike Pompeo in which he discussed in detail the Afghanistan situation and the progress on regional security.
“He must definitely know that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is visiting Pakistan on June 27,” said Qureshi.
“The recent negotiations at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meeting and the discussions between Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Ashraf Ghani, there all have paved way for better relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said the foreign minister. “Our peace is linked to each other.”
Qureshi said the Qatari Amir was also visiting Pakistan while Prime Minister Imran Khan had already visited Qatar.
“I also undertook a visit to Qatar and had detailed discussions on political and economic affairs. A delegation comprising Qatari officials also visited Pakistan and we have high hopes from this new visit,” he said. “Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani is effectively running the house. It is a good sign that a chairman has been nominated from a place like Balochistan where the feeling of deprivation is common among the people.”
He urged the relevant quarters not to subject this positive development to power politics.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan lifted a de-facto ban on capital punishment in December 2014 following a gruesome militant attack on an Army Public School, Peshawar, which killed over 140 people, mostly children.
Since then, over 300 convicts, mostly militants, have been sent to the gallows. Currently, there are around 8,000 death row prisoners in Pakistani jails.
Pakistani beheaded in Saudi jail
Nov 1, 2019
Saudi authorities have beheaded yet another Pakistani citizen, Mohammad Imran, in Shumaisi prison of Jeddah in blatant disregard for norms of justice. When the poor youth from Chichawatni traveled to Saudi Arabia in August 2011 for a labour job, he might have taken the foreign land as the proverbial greener pasture. Upon landing at the airport in Jeddah, however, he was arrested for drug crimes and sentenced to death unheard.
Pakistani couple executed for ‘heroin smuggling’ in Saudi Arabia
Apr 17, 2019
Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said on Thursday that two Pakistani nationals, a husband and wife, had been executed for heroin smuggling, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
Muhammad Mustafa and Fatima Ijaz were arrested “when they smuggled a quantity of heroin”.
SHC seeks replies on pleas against death sentences
Jun 21, 2019
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday once again ordered the ministries of defence and interior to submit replies by the next hearing over the pleas filed by the convicts challenging the death sentences awarded to them by military court in Safoora Goth killing case.
A two-member bench comprising Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Muhammad Saleem Jessar was hearing the pleas on Thursday filed by the convicts. The SHC had sought replies from the federal ministries but both the ministries failed to comply with the court’s orders.
Military court had awarded capital punishment to Saad Aziz, Tahir Minhas, Azhar Ishrat, Hafiz Nasir and Asadur Rehman to death. Petitions filed by the convicts before the SHC argued that the families of the convicts aren’t being informed about the details of the case. They prayed that the families be allowed to meet the convicts and the orders for death sentences should be suspended. The convicts should be given the opportunity to file the petitions in the light of Supreme Court’s orders.
The same bench adjourned the hearing of plea regarding the provision of security, filed by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, due to absence of lawyers.
The bench remarked that the hearing will be held after summer vacations.
The reply submitted by federal government maintained that provision of security to citizens is the responsibility of provincial government after the 18th Amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan. The ministry of interior had written to all the provinces about the security of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Islamabad IG will be providing the security services to Bilawal when he enters federal territory.
The plea maintained that Bilawal faces serious security threats according to the reports of intelligence agencies and his security wasn’t under the provincial government’s responsibility but rather the responsibility of the Centre as he also travels outside Sindh.
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