Islamabad — The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday deferred the execution of death row convict Shafqat Hussain for one day.
Justice Athar Minallah today took up a petition against Federation investigation Agency’s inquiry into its Shafqat’s age. The petition was filed by a rights organization – Justice Project Pakistan (JPP).
During the hearing, Shafqat’s counsel Dr. Tariq Hassan Advocate said that FIA was not the competent authority to determine his client’s age and it was the prerogative of a judicial commission.
Issuing interim order on the petition, IHC ordered to halt his execution for one day and ordered the lawyers of both parties to complete their arguments.
Justice Athar Minallah inquired the government lawyer that who had issued the directives to hold inquiry to determine Shafqat’s age.
The lawyer informed the court that it was conducted on interior ministry’s directives.
Justice Athar Minallah said that following Supreme Court’s order in 2003, the investigation of Shafqat’s age by FIA was illegal.
Shafqat was convicted for kidnapping and killing a seven-year-old boy for ransom in 2004 and sentenced to death by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) late the same year.
It is the third time that Shafqat’s execution has been delayed.
He was first scheduled to be executed on January 14 this year, however, the government put it on hold amid protests by civil society activists, who contended that Shafqat was a juvenile when he committed the crime, and ordered FIA to conduct inquiry into his age.
He was later scheduled to be sent to gallows on March 19 but it was postponed for three days and then for 30 days after civil society members staged a protest against his execution outside presidency.
On April 24, after FIA inquiry concluded that Shafqat was 23-year-old when he committed the crime, the court re-issued death warrant for him, according to which he was scheduled to be hanged on May 6 at 5:30 am.