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SC commutes capital punishment of two mentally-ill prisoners

Four  sentenced to death for blasphemy in Rawalpindi

LAHORE: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has commuted the capital punishment of two mentally-ill prisoners from execution to life imprisonment.

Supreme Court Lahore Registry of the five-member bench of  Chief Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik changed the decision pronouncing the death sentence to life imprisonment.

In this regard, the Supreme Court has re-sent the order in the decision of Kanizan Bibi, Imdad Ali, and Ghulam Abbas who have respectively spent 30, 18, and 14 years on death row while exhibiting acute symptoms of mental illness.

Both Kanizan Bibi and Ghulam Abbas suffer from schizophrenia. The court remarked it would reconsider its decision in light of appeal. Imdad Ali was sentenced in 2002, Kanizan Bibi in 1991, and Ghulam Abbas in 2004. 

In December 2020, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Citizens and Human Resource Development Zulfikar Bukhari had said the government had brought back 8,700 Pakistanis imprisoned abroad.

Earlier this year, many prisoners were also repatriated from countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Due to the spread of coronavirus and the fact that prisons are a hotbed for the virus, returning Pakistani citizens imprisoned abroad is imperative.

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Due to the lack of a uniform consular policy, Pakistani citizens imprisoned abroad lack consular support and adequate legal representation, often suffering due process violations such as long periods of detention without charge or trial. The majority of Pakistani prisoners in foreign jails are arrested for non-lethal crimes such as drug trafficking, theft, and violation of immigration laws.

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