Authorities of the Machh jail on Monday approached an antiterrorism court requesting it to issue a fresh black warrant for the execution of condemned prisoner Sault Mirza since a stay order issued by the president against his hanging is going to expire on April 30.
Saulat Ali Khan, better known as Saulat Mirza, a worker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, was sentenced to death by an ATC in 1999 for killing the then managing director of the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation,
Shahid Hamid, his driver, and a guard in 1997 in the Defence area. The superintendent of the Machh jail wrote a letter to the court informing it that the implementation of the last black warrant, issued on March 24 for hanging on April 1, was deferred by the presidency for one month (April 1 to April 30). The jail official said that the stay order would expire on April 30 and asked the ATC-V to issue a fresh black warrant for the execution of the condemned prisoner. The court is likely to issue a new death warrant in a day or two. On a request of the government, the Sindh High Court had amended the Sindh Prisons Rules in December last year and reduced the minimum period between the issuance of a black warrant and hanging from two weeks to one week.
The trial court had issued the first black warrant against the condemned prisoner on March 11 and asked the jail authorities to send him to the gallows on March 19. However, the president had deferred the execution a few hours before the convict was to be hanged after private news channels aired a video message of the convict in which he levelled serious allegations against the top MQM leadership. Later, a joint investigation team was also constituted to grill the death row prisoner. Another black warrant was issued on March 24 for April 1 after the jail officials informed the trial court on March 22 that the three-day stay had ended and they had not received any further stay order.
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The incumbent judge of the ATC-V, Mohammad Javed Alam, who was also the then judge of the ATC, had sentenced the accused to death in May 1999. The SHC had dismissed his appeal in 2000 and the Supreme Court also turned down his plea against the capital punishment in 2001. A review petition was rejected by the apex court in 2004. Over a decade-old mercy petition of the convict was recently rejected by the president a couple of months ago. The death row prisoner along with some other high-profile inmates was shifted from Karachi to the Machh prison in April last year. The SHC twice turned down the applications of the convict’s relatives seeking his transfer back to the Karachi central prison after the provincial authorities informed it that the condemned prisoner had been moved to Machh jail for security reasons.
According to the prosecution, Shahid Hamid, his driver Ashraf Brohi, and guard Khan Akbar were gunned down when the then KESC chief left his house in DHA in his car on July 5, 1997. The then SHO of Gulbahar, Mohammad Aslam Khan, had arrested the accused in December 1998 from Karachi airport after his arrival from Bangkok on a fake passport. The police alleged that the offence had been carried out to avenge the removal of party supporters working in the KESC.