A court in Karachi has issued a black warrant for the execution of a convict to be conducted on 9 June, in the backdrop of a major controversy that has been brewing over his sentencing since March this year.
Shafqat Hussian was handed the death sentence in September 2004 by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) for kidnapping and killing a seven-year-old boy in April that year. However, following repeated appeals his execution was not carried out.
Moreover, when the Pakistan Peoples Party came to power in 2008, it had placed a moratorium on capital punishment. With its lifting, following the Peshawar military school massacre in December 2014, Hussain's execution was once again scheduled to be carried out.
He was granted a last minute reprieve in March 2015, when Pakistan stayed the execution following intervention from human rights groups.
Hussain was spared the capital punishment, as he had allegedly confessed to the crime following torture in jail. His lawyers accused jail authorities of brutality and claimed that the then 14-year-old Hussain had confessed to the killing after being burnt with cigarettes and after his finger nails were removed.
In May this year, the jail superintendent had informed the trial court that the latest warrant issued by the Islamabad High Court staying Hussain's execution had been vacated and sought a fresh black warrant to go ahead with the execution.
According to Pakistani daily Dawn, Judge Saleem Raza Baloch of the ATC-III issued a black warrant on 2 June asking the superintendent of Karachi central prison to hang the prisoner on 9 June at 4.30am local time.
Further, the court asked the jail authorities to carry out the execution and fulfil all legal requirements and return the death warrant with endorsement certifying that the sentence had been executed.