Mentally ill ex-cop dies after spending 16 years on death row


A mentally ill prisoner who spent the last 16 years of his life on death row passed away in a Lahore hospital on Monday night, a rights outfit announced on Friday.

According to a press statement issued by the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), 56-year-old Khizar Hayat passed away at Jinnah Hospital where he was admitted after he stopped taking food and medication.

Hayat is survived by four children and his mother.

On January 14, former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had suspended Hayat’s fourth execution warrant. A two-member bench then referred the case to a larger bench of the Supreme Court, which has taken up the cases of two other schizophrenic death row prisoners, Imdad Ali and Kanizan Bibi.

According to the JPP, Khizar Hayat was first diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by jail authorities in 2008. His mental health record consistently referred to his delusions, psychosis, and his mental illness, and showed that he has been prescribed powerful anti-psychotic medication. The conditions of his incarceration made his mental illness progressively worse.

“Khizar spent the last six years alone in his cell in the jail hospital, effectively living in solitary confinement” which caused him to lose all awareness of his surroundings and he did not know where he was, the JPP statement said.

A former police constable, Khizar, was convicted in October 2001 for killing a colleague, while a trial court had handed him a death sentence two years later.

In 2010, the jail medical officer recommended that Hayat needed specialised treatment and should be shifted to a psychiatric facility. However, this was never done. In 2017, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had stayed Hayat’s execution but rejected his mother’s appeal for a stay in December 2018.

A district and sessions court in Lahore subsequently fixed Hayat’s execution for January 15, 2019, before it was suspended by the SC.

Black warrants for Hayat had been issued thrice previously — in all instances his execution was stayed.