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Pakistan SC rules schizophrenia is ‘not a mental disorder’, can executes convict

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The Pakistan Supreme Court has held that a psychiatric disorder like schizophrenia does not subjugate the death sentence.

“In our opinion, rules relating to mental sickness are not subjugative to delay the execution of death sentence which has been awarded to the convict,” says the Supreme Court in its 11-page judgment on the famous Imdad Ali case.

Safia Bano, wife of the convict Imdad Ali, had approached the Supreme Court, claiming that her husband was insane and the execution of death sentence may be delayed till he gets medical treatment so that he can write down his will.

Imdad, from Burewala district of southern Punjab, was awarded death sentence in 2002 in a murder case. His sentence was upheld by all superior courts, including the Supreme Court. The president has also rejected his mercy petition.

However, when black warrants were issued for his execution on July 26, his wife filed a writ petition in the Lahore High Court Multan bench to delay her husband’s hanging till the recovery of his mental illness. The high court rejected her plea on August 23.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) protested against the judgement. A spokesperson said mental illness and insanity were reasons for a court to not declare a person guilty of a crime. “This decision will have far reaching implications,” HRCP said.

Earlier, the watchdog Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) too filed an appeal against the Lahore high court’s order dismissing pleas that Ali could not be executed because of his mental illness. JPP argued the court should look into Ali’s medical condition and extenuating circumstances that had aggravated his mental illness during his lengthy time on death row.

Ali hails from Burewala district of Punjab province. After warrants were issued for his execution on July 26, his wife filed a writ petition in the Lahore high court, which rejected her plea on August 23. She then approached the Supreme Court with the same plea but the three-judge bench upheld the death sentence.

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