ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court delayed the execution of Shafqat Hussain on Tuesday in response to a petition filed filed by the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) which called for a judicial inquiry into the age of the death row convict, stayed his hanging until its verdict was issued.
Shafqat was scheduled to face the gallows on May 6 after an anti-terrorism court (ATC) had issued his death warrant on April 24 following an executive inquiry by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which concluded that he was not a minor when the punishment was handed down.
During today’s hearing, Justice Athar Minallah inquired as to who had given the orders to hold the inquiry to ascertain Shafqat Hussain’s age. The government lawyer told the court that the inquiry was conducted on the orders of the interior ministry.
The court observed that following the Supreme Court’s 2003 orders, the FIA’s investigation into Hussain’s age was illegal.
Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), which was managing Shafqat’s defence, had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court expressing dissatisfaction over the FIA’s investigation into its client’s age.
Dr Tariq Hassan, the petitioner’s counsel, had pointed out that the Supreme Court in 2003 had dealt with an identical matter where a death-row convict was seeking benefit under the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000. He said the apex court had held that only a judicial forum can determine the age of an accused.