Convict on death row gets heard after 18 years


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday accepted the hearing of a convict who has been on death row for the last 18 years in Sukkur jail.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmad and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel accepted the convict’s appeal.

The bench also asked the registrar office to fix the matter within one month.

Human rights activist Ayesha Tasneem appeared on behalf of the applicant.

Nineteen at that time, Jamal Khan was convicted in March 2001 by a special court in Karachi for an offence categorized under Section 302 (b) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). In the same year, he was shifted to the death cell of Sukkur jail. Subsequently, Jamal’s conviction was upheld by Sindh High Court in November 2002.

“In 2017, I received a letter from my client namely Tariq Rajpoot, who is also a death row prisoner in Sukkur Jail, that his fellow Jamal Khan is unaware about the fate of his jail petition as he is in the death cell since 2000/01. Upon this, I contacted the SC’s criminal branch to know the status of his plea. However, it was found that [SC] did not receive any jail petition on his behalf,” says Ayesha Tasneem, who is pursuing jail petitions on behalf of convicted persons in the apex court for the last couple of years.

Later, Sukkur jail authorities claimed that Khan’s jail petition was sent to the apex court in 2006 but the SC registrar office said that no jail petition was received on behalf of him.

Finally, Advocate Tasneem again contacted the death row prisoner to move a fresh jail application in the top court, which was entertained by the SC on December 26, 2017.

However, the hearing could not be fixed because the police did not submit the record of the case.

After receiving police record, the top court fixed hearing of the case today; the jail petition has been converted into a criminal appeal which will be fixed within a month.