Islamabad, Nov 24: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was urged to suspend the execution of a paraplegic death-row convict scheduled to be hanged on Wednesday, the media reported on Tuesday. Abdul Basit, 43, who is paralysed from the waist down, a former administrator at a medical college, was convicted in May 2009 of the murder of the uncle of a woman with whom he was allegedly in a relationship. He has denied the charges.
In a letter addressed to Sharif, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) chairperson Zohra Yusuf said that the prison authorities were still awaiting a response after writing to the federal government for guidance on how to proceed in the case, Dawn online reported. “It is shocking that orders for Basit’s execution have been issued for a third time, despite the fact that concerns about the legality of his hanging remain as unsatisfied as ever and because he is simply not fit to be hanged,” she wrote.
This was the third time that execution warrants have been issued for Basit. He was first scheduled to be hanged on July 29, but the execution was stayed by the Lahore High Court, when the legality of his execution was challenged. On September 1, that petition was dismissed. A new warrant scheduling the execution for September 22 was issued, but it was again put on hold after the Supreme Court issued an order that the execution could not proceed.
Pakistan has executed more than 200 people since reintroducing the death penalty in December 2014. At the time the government said it was a measure to combat terrorism after the Taliban massacred more than 150 people, most of them children, in a Peshawar school.
Pakistan’s jail manual gives no instructions on how to execute disabled prisoners. (IANS)