HRCP calls for halting execution of Shafqat Hussain

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has called upon the prime minister and the minister of the interior to intervene to spare the life of Shafqat Hussain, a death row prisoner who was around 14 years old at the time of commission of the offence that he has been convicted of.

Shafqat, now 23, is jailed in Karachi Central Prison and warrants for his execution on March 19 have been issued.

In its letter, HRCP stated that in January, the interior minister had intervened to halt Shafqat’s execution and stated in parliament that the government had arrived at the decision after information regarding issues around Shafqat’s case had reached the Ministry of Interior.

“The minister had announced that an inquiry would be conducted by the ministry on the concerns raised regarding Shafqat’s conviction. No such inquiry has taken place and Shafqat is now headed for the gallows on March 19,” the Commission said.

HRCP also pointed out that Shafqat’s conviction was in violation of Pakistan’s obligation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which prohibited state parties from imposing the capital punishment for offences supposedly committed by a person below eighteen years of age.

HRCP urged the government to immediately halt Shafqat’s execution and inquire into his case as promised, in order to pave the way for him to be reunited with his family.

HRCP stated that several other people facing imminent executions had also petitioned the courts and the government, explaining their circumstances and pointing out flaws in their conviction. “In view of the circumstances, we would call upon the government not to go for a general revival of executions and instead restore the moratorium on executions.

At the very least, until the moratorium is revived, implementation of the death penalty should be confined only to the exceptionally serious cases,” the Commission stated.   DNA

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