Understanding the Case of Shafaqat Hussain

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Eleven years back the Anti-Terrorism Court ordered hanging of a 23 years boy for abducting and brutally murdering a naïve child .After rejection the family appealed for clemency  against the orders of execution from ATC (2004), then knocked the doors of the High Court in 2007  and later the Supreme where the decision remained unaffected. The then president Asif Ali Zardari also did not entertain the family of the inmate (Although this couldn’t be implemented at that time as the death penalty was substituted with life imprisonment according to the rule of law).

The issue wedged fire when the date of his hanging was confirmed and the inmate’s family with the prop up of a western backed NGO Reprieve started pressurizing the government to halt the execution .The supporting argument for their this very claim was that Shafaqat Hussain conducted this criminal activity when he was juvenile and juveniles according to the law of Pakistan are exempted from the death sentence. Here the questionable element of the case is that what stopped them from highlighting the matter of his age at the time of his arrest.

The council of people supporting and leading his case was intentionally using some very shameful measures to plant the erroneous face of the story in the minds of the public. For instance, pressurizing the government by launching blatantly aggressive campaigns against the verdict of this specific case of hanging. They claims that it was only due to the continuous brutal and inhumane torture which led to his confession.

The interior minister through the press conference made it clear that there is no external pressure behind the holding back of the execution. He also informed that the FIA committee has been formed which will probe into the matter and will bring under the yoke the ones who are responsible. The committee has first asked for immediate submission of the NIC’s of all the family members and one of his class fellows through which they plan to determine Shafaqat’s age. Initially the government ordered to conduct the DNA test to determine his age at the time of crime which again was difficult because of some biological limitation (Ossification of Bones).

Here it seems as if some people are deliberately subjugating the situation since the mug shots of him at the time of crime clearly shows the signs of adulthood on his face (beard and moustache) and again the age stated in the admission register of the Karachi Jail was 23 at the time when the criminal activity took place.

Here the stance of people supporting this case should also be strongly condemned. As if they have objections on any case then they can fight the case in courts but the courts decisions should be considered final, otherwise the case of contempt of court should be registered against them for being disrespectful towards the court of law. Here the government officials and the related authorities need to have spine to deal with the situation and try to reach to the bottom line so that justice can be prevailed.

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is currently teaching at SICAS and is a student of Masters in Business Administration, and can be reached at sarasaaad@gmail.com

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