Hanging in the middle: 28 political workers, militants await the gallows in Sindh

Friday, December 26th, 2014 1:12:29 by



KARACHI: 

At least 28 activists of political parties, banned religious organisations and sectarian outfits are among the 458 convicts on death row in the province, it emerged on Thursday.

Of these, the mercy appeals of eight convicts are pending before the president – the last appellate forum in the civil governing system – and one before the army general headquarters, the last appellate forum in the armed forces.

Consolidated statistics show that the major prisons in Karachi, Larkana, Hyderabad and Sukkur house 458 such prisoners, who were awarded death sentences by the sessions courts and the special anti-terrorism courts over the years.

The appeals of 379 condemned prisoners are pending before the Sindh High Court (SHC) while another 25 appeals are pending verdicts at the Supreme Court (SC).

Banned outfits

The figures reveal that the appeals of two members of a banned militant outfit – Mohammad Rehman, alias Mani and Anwarul Haq – who had challenged the death sentences awarded to them by the anti-terrorism court, are awaiting decision before the high court.

A member of a banned sectarian outfit, Syed Mohammad Tehseen alias Rashid, was awarded capital punishment by the anti-terrorism court on March 22, 2007. Convict Rehimullah alias Naeem was also awarded the death sentence by the ATC on January 19, 2010, whose appeal is still awaiting decision in the high court.

The appeals of eight convicts belonging to another banned outfit, against death sentences awarded in the high-profile attack on the Karachi Corps Commander are also pending before the SC.

The anti-terrorism court had handed down death sentences to Danish Imam, Khurrum Saifullah, Shehzad Bakhtiar, Rao Khalid, Syed Adnan Shah, Najeebullah, Uzair Ahmed and Yaqoob Saeed, after it found them guilty of plotting the attack on the convoy in Karachi in 2004.

Another member of a banned outfit, Muhammad Fazil, had filed an appeal against the capital punishment awarded by the ATC. The decision was subsequently upheld by the high court and is awaiting decision at the SC.

Political convicts

The statistics prepared by the prisons department show that there are 10 convicts, who were reportedly associated with a political party, when the special anti-terrorism courts gave them the death sentence.

The appeals of two such convicts, Javed Ahmed Siddiq and Muhammad Farhan Khan, are pending before the SHC against the sentences awarded by the special anti-terrorism court on March 30, 2000. Similarly, the appeals of another two condemned prisoners, Asif Ali and Atif Khan, are also pending decisions from the high court.

Two prisoners on death row, Fayyaz Ahmed and Muhammad Ashraf, have filed their appeals before the SC, after the ATC’s verdict was maintained by the high court.

The mercy appeals of four such condemned prisoners are pending before the president, after their appeals were rejected by the apex court and the high court. These convicts are identified as Muhammad Faisal, Muhammad Afzal, Moinuddin and Shahid Mehmood.

The provincial home and prison authorities had recently informed an SHC bench that the government plans to execute the death sentences in four phases. They said the convicts associated with sectarian outfits would be the first to go to the gallows, followed by militants in the second phase and those not associated with any outfits in the third phase. In the fourth phase, those prisoners, who had affiliations with religious and political groups, will be hanged.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2014.



Karachi News Sources -2

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