Confessions of an EXECUTIONER | Pakistan Today

Confessions of an EXECUTIONER

LAHORE – Meet Lal Masih, an executioner who retired on December 31 last year. Lal is a real life hangman who executed 750 people in 27 years of service with police. Minor murderers, high-ranking terrorists and wanted criminals have all fallen victim to this man’s professionalism.
Born in 1955 at the Yakki Gate inside the Walled City, this man is related to the famous Tara Masih, who pulled the lever that ended life of the most powerful prime minister this land has ever seen, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. In 1984, Lal Masih joined the police as an executioner after death of his sister’s husband, Tara Masih.
Employed at a gross salary of Rs 450 per month, this man’s job description was a nightmare for many. Lal has hung people in various parts of the country. “Victims are usually hung in their home towns, so I had a chance to tour around Pakistan a lot”, he said while smiling.
Lal’s body language and eyes make it obvious that this guy has witnessed a lot in 27 years of his career. Very similar to other professionals such as bankers and doctors, Lal lacked confidence on the first day of his job. “I was very timid and hesitant on the first day of my job”, he said. Recalling his first showdown Lal revealed,
“It was summer of 1984 and his name was Muhammad Din, a man who had killed his wife on some domestic issue in Sahiwal. No training is giving to us, but Tara had taken me to the execution point a couple of times before, so I had an idea of the procedure, but yes I did have second thoughts”, he added. While explaining the whole procedure of a judicial execution, he said that most of the executions in Pakistan are done right after the Fajr azaan. “The guilty is given a bath an hour before the decided time of his death and after completing all religious formalities, the man is walked towards the gallows”, he explained.
He said that four people have to be present at time of the execution including judge of the case, a superintendent of police and a doctor with a few policemen. “The SP usually asks the accused for his last wish,” Lal explained. He said that most of the accused used to ask the SP to convey love messages to their children. “Only one individual, who was around 19-years-old asked to see his mother”, he said.
“When I started off with my job, the family members of the accused and the accused himself was allowed to see the whole process, but former PM Muhammad Khan Junejo called it off after he assumed power” said Lal. He explained that the accused is brought in front of the gallows and is masked, which is made out of a black-coloured cloth which is semi opaque, partially see-through. “It’s kind of a norm that when the man is masked every one goes silent, even permission of the execution is given by the SP by a swing of hand”, he said. Lal said that the accused is brought up to the gallows where he fixes the rope firmly on the man’s neck making sure that the head does not slip out of the knot.
the whisper: “That’s where I used to whisper in ear of the accused that I had nothing to do with his death and that I am only performing my duty”, he added. After checking all important stuff, he goes to stand by the lever where he waits for the SP’s permission. After he is given permission, Lal pulls the lever and the trap door under toes of the accused opens and the man is made to fall down around 5 feet with his neck tied with the wooden frame. He said that the body is kept hanging for 30 minutes.
“We wait until the hanging man’s hands turn dark and blackish”, he said. He said that after confirming that the man has died, the judge signs some documents and the body is taken to guardians of the hanged. Recalling some of his unusual experiences during his job, he revealed that he had done many public executions as well.
“Public executions were mostly given in southern areas of Punjab including Muzzaffargarh, Mianwali and Multan”, he added. “When fat men were made to take the drop, the rope used to break” he said.
“Then it is up to the police to assist that half dead and half alive man up to the gallows again, my job ends after that”, he added. Lal said that convicted with less weight used to swing with the rope for a longer period of time and to end that pain, he is ordered to go down and clinch feet of the convicted and hang with it. It might be important to mention here that Lal is certainly not a light weighted man and easily weighs above 110 kilogrammes.
“Once I executed 5 men at one time, I was a player back at that time”, he said while winking. He said that the youngest boy he had executed was between 16to 17-years-old who was accused of killing his own fiance and the oldest was near 55 who had killed his brother. Reminiscing other abnormal moments, he said, “Once a man bit off his own tongue because he yelled during the fall that became a mess”, he added. Lal said that the bravest was a man who was accused of involvement in a bomb blast in the Lahore High Court. “He didn’t show any sign of fear even for a second, his name was Muharram Ali Shah”, he added. Lal said that when I went up to Muharram’s ear and said that he was just doing what he was ordered to do, Muharram smiled and said just “Do your job”. Lal also has the honour of executing the man who killed an Iranian diplomat in Pakistan.
“Once I had to execute a man which I got to know belonged to my extended family, but jobs are jobs”, he added. In absolute contrast to his ruthless profession, Lal is a funny man filled with humor. A happy grandfather of five grandchildren, the executioner is a complete family guy. “I prefer staying with my family rather than going out with friends” he said. He has seven children including two daughters and five sons, out of which two have got married.
The hangman’s humorous personality seems to attract his acquaintances towards him. His family members, neighbours and co-workers all are proud to know Lal Masih. “I have a small business in Dubai and I plan to shift there and live my retired life honourably”, he said.
Through the execution process
The guilty is given a bath an hour before the decided time of his death and after completing all religious formalities, the man is walked towards the gallows.
It’s kind of a norm that when the man is masked every one goes silent, even permission of the execution is given by the SP by a swing of hand.
That’s where I used to whisper in ear of the accused that I had nothing to do with his death and that I am only performing my duty.



5 Comments

  1. jamal said:

    it is sad that the only use five feet of rope. That is not enough to break the Neck. Different length of rope should be you for different height and weight of people. The British have table and so do the American. Those should be used. Ending life is a tragedy. It should be done as humanely as possible . Hangman should be trained. Rope must be boiled and stretched.

    Please watch the history of British Excecutioner Albert Pierrepont. Search for Pierrepont on you tube. Have some Mercy on the condemned.

  2. ahsan shah said:

    Muharram Ali was of course the bravest man in Pakistan

  3. Irfan Ali said:

    Lal said that the bravest was a man who was accused of involvement in a bomb blast in the Lahore High Court. “He didn’t show any sign of fear even for a second, his name was Muharram Ali Shah”, he added. Lal said that when I went up to Muharram’s ear and said that he was just doing what he was ordered to do, Muharram smiled and said just “Do your job”.

  4. M. Yahya Ch Adv said:

    Lal said that the bravest was a man who was accused of involvement in a bomb blast in the Lahore High Court. “He didn’t show any sign of fear even for a second, his name was Muharram Ali Shah”, he added. Lal said that when I went up to Muharram’s ear and said that he was just doing what he was ordered to do, Muharram smiled and said just “Do your job”. Dear it is a fake story of Lal Masih (Muhammad Yahya Ch Advocate Highcourt 199-Distt Courts Sahiwal Cell 03009694382)

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