— Medical board formed to assess convict’s mental health after it was reported that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday forwarded the case of Khizar Hayat, a mentally-ill patient on death row, to a larger bench for hearing.
The sentence was suspended by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday.
As a two-member bench comprising Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood heard the appeal at SC’s Lahore registry, the Punjab additional advocate general told the court that a medical board has been formed to check Hayat. The convict was first diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in 2008 by jail medical authorities.
The case was then adjourned for an indefinite period of time.
The chief justice had reviewed a petition filed by Hayat’s mother Iqbal Bano in the human rights cell which requested the SC to intervene in the case as a mentally ill prisoner was being sentenced to death.
“I read that a prisoner named Khizar Hayat has been sentenced to be hanged,” the chief justice had remarked while inquiring from the attorney general. He ordered to immediately ascertain whether Hayat has been diagnosed as mentally ill and sought a report.
The petitioner had claimed the Lahore High Court’s judgement “is not in accordance with law and the Prison Rules”.
“[The court] has mixed the conviction with execution and thereby has dismissed the writ petition on wrong premises,” she wrote and added that neither medical history of the prisoner nor the medical board’s reports have been considered which establish the mental condition of the prisoner.
“The extensive jail medical records establishing the mental ailment of the condemned prisoner are sufficient to withhold the execution of death sentence till the time the condemned prisoner is fully recovered from the ailment,” it was noted. “There is no way that Khizar Hayat’s execution can be carried out in a manner that complies with Pakistan’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN Convention against Torture.”
KHIZAR HAYAT CASE:
Hayat, a former police constable, was convicted in October 2001 for killing a fellow policeman, while a trial court had handed him a death sentence two years later.
Following the court’s order, the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) called for a halt in the execution of Hayat.
In December 2018, the Lahore High Court had dismissed his mother’s petition to stay Hayat’s execution.
Death warrants for Hayat have been issued thrice previously but in all instances, his execution was stayed.
On June 10, 2015, a death warrant was issued but the LHC had granted him reprieve at the last minute. In July 2015, a district and sessions judge halted his execution for death warrants issued for July 28, 2015.
Following this, in January 2017, a district and sessions judge in Lahore had issued execution warrants for Hayat. The decision was once again stayed by the high court.