In February 2021, the Supreme Court of Pakistan commuted the death sentences of two severely mentally ill prisoners, Kanizan Bibi and Imdad Ali, to life imprisonment and delivered a landmark judgment that reinforces the rights of mentally ill defendants in the criminal justice system. Not only has the Court established key safeguards for mentally ill defendants on death row, it has reiterated and upheld protections that must be afforded to persons with psychosocial disabilities at every stage in the criminal justice system; at the time of arrest, during the investigation, trial and sentencing, in order to ensure that they are to guarantee due process. It has also barred the execution of individuals who are severely mentally ill.
This is an extremely significant development given that Pakistan has one of the largest reported death row populations in the world and has executed over 500 individuals since December 2014. United Nations has also released a letter acknowledging the significance of the verdict on Pakistan’s human rights commitments. The discussion with the esteemed and learned panel will focus on the steps needed to be taken to move forward and forge the road to the implementation of this landmark verdict.
Date: Monday, June 21, 2021
Time: 4:00 pm (PKT)
Hosted in collaboration with the Shaikh Ahmad Hassan School of Law (SAHSOL) and Justice Project Pakistan, the session will be moderated by Ms. Hiba Akbar.
Join us on Facebook Live for this interesting conversation!
Profiles of Panelists
Justice (R) Nasira Javed Iqbal
Justice (R) Nasira Javed Iqbal was one of the first five women to be appointed to the Lahore High Court, where she served as a justice from 1994 to 2002. She received the Fatima Jinnah Medal for Women's Rights in 2006, the Woman of the Year Star Award in 2007, and the Wonder Woman Award in 2011. She has been a member of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan, and the Pakistani delegation to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
Barrister Sarah Belal
Barrister Sarah Belal is the Founder and Director of Justice Project Pakistan (JPP). Ms. Belal won the prestigious Echoing Green Global Fellowship in 2013, making JPP the first Pakistani organisation to be recognised in the Fellowship’s 25-year history. In 2016, Ms. Belal was awarded both the inaugural Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the National Human Rights Award by the President of Pakistan.
Dr. Mowdat Hussain Rana
Dr. Mowdat Hussain Rana is a Professor of Psychiatry. An author of 12 books, and more than 50 national and international publications, he was declared the best university teacher in the field of medicine by the Higher Education Commission Pakistan in 2007. He is also a recipient of the Sitara-e-Imtiaz from the Government of Pakistan.
Mr. Kazi Nazir Ahmed
Mr. Kazi Nazir Ahmed has served in the civil service for over 22 years. He is currently serving as the Inspector General of Prisons in Sindh and has recently initiated trainings for prison staff following the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Ms. Hiba Akbar
Ms. Hiba Akbar is a Teaching Fellow at the Shaikh Ahmad Hassan School of Law, LUMS where she teaches and researches Criminal Law with a focus on gender.