A Sessions court stays execution of a mentally charged person

LAHORE: A Sessions court on Saturday stayed the execution of a man convicted of murdering his sister due to his mental illness, and issued a notice to the jail authorities.

Muhammad Saleem Ahmad was due to be executed on Tuesday, November 7, in Lahore’s central jail.

Justice Project Pakistan’s Barrister Sarah Bilal appeared before District and Sessions Judge Abid Hussain Qureshi on behalf of the convict and said that the convict had been suffering from the mental illness.

He said that Saleem was suffering from mental illness and was in such a situation that his execution under the law was not permissible.

An investigation officer also testified that he was aware of Saleem’s mental illness through his neighbours. After hearing both sides, the sessions judge stayed his execution and issued notices to the respondent jail authorities.

Saleem, 63, was arrested in Lahore on 30 July 2001 where he was accused of fatally shooting his sister, Nasreen Begum.

He was sentenced to death in 2004. Since then, Saleem has been diagnosed “as a case of psychiatric illness” by the Punjab Institute of Mental Health and has been on anti-psychotic drugs since 2013. He remains in the psychiatric cells of Central Jail Lahore, having spent nearly 14 years on death row.

The National Commission on Human Rights has also initiated an inquiry into his mental condition on Friday and has asked the Inspector General Prisons, Punjab to file a reply within 72 hours.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt