Pakistan‘s ambassador to Indonesia Aqil Nadeem has confirmed that Zulfiqar Shah‘s execution has been delayed for now.
“I can confirm that Zulfiqar Ali’s execution has been halted. We are relieved that his life has been saved,” Nadeem told Geo News via telephone.
Indonesia came under further international pressure on Thursday 28th July 2016, to halt the execution of 14 with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the European Union both calling on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to declare a moratorium on the death penalty.
Ban recalled that under international law, the death penalty should be used for the ‘most serious crimes’ and said “drug crimes are generally not considered to meet this threshold”.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on Indonesia to end the “unjust” use of the death penalty and the European Union has also urged a halt.
However, Indonesia was supposed to hold a round of executions on Friday 29 July 2016, which included a Pakistani drug convict Zulfiqar Ali.
Rights groups including Amnesty International have expressed serious concerns about Ali’s conviction, alleging it arose out of beatings and torture and he did not have a fair trial.
Pakistan’s deputy ambassador in Jakarta, Syed Zahid Raza, said earlier on Monday his embassy has “approached all the concerned high officials to convince them that it was not a fair trial”.
Additionally, human right groups have claimed that, Ali was given death sentence in 2005 for the possession of heroin, to confess the crime.
Lahore‘s native, Zulfiqar was convicted in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 300 grams (10.6 oz.) of heroin and was to be executed on Thursday night 28th July 2016. His plea was rejected by the Indonesian authorities but they decided to reconsider the decision after Pakistan on Monday urged the Indonesian government to stay the execution of one of Zulfiqar, citing concerns that his 2005 trial had been unfair.
It added that while Ali was being interrogated by police, he was kept in a house for three days and punched, kicked and threatened with death unless he signed a self-incriminating statement, which he later did.
Indonesia, which is among Southeast Asia‘s biggest markets for narcotics, has declared a “drug emergency” and vowed no mercy for drug traffickers.
It provoked international outrage in April last year with the executions of eight drug traffickers, seven foreigners among them, following the 2013 end of a five-year temporary halt in the practice.
According to reports from news agencies, Ali’s execution was halted while Indonesia moved ahead with the execution of four of the 14 convicts, including three foreigners.
Finally, Zulfiqar‘s family was delighted to know the news of his execution delay for now as they were protesting against the decision of execution since evening.
Nadeem said he could give no further legal details at the moment regarding Zulfiqar Ali’s case, and whether he had been pardoned or his execution delayed, but he said Indonesian authorities would soon inform Pakistani officials of the details.