Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday formed a bench to determine the exact duration of a sentence of imprisonment for life under the country’s law. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa took notice of the issue while hearing a petition to reduce a convict’s life sentence. The bench set to be constituted will have a larger number of judges.
The court has issued notices to the attorney general, provincial advocate generals and prosecutors. It has also directed the registrar’s office to fix the case for hearing on the first week of October. Haroonul Rashid was sentenced to life imprisonment 12 times in 12 different cases of murder. He has been in jail since 1997 and has thus far been in prison for 22 years. Rashid’s sentences are to be served concurrently. Rashid’s lawyer pleaded that his client’s life sentence be halved, to which Chief Justice Khosa replied, “how we can cut short the sentence period to half when we don’t know how long the convict’s natural life is?”
“I had been waiting for a long time for a case where we could determine the span of a life sentence. In a jail sentence, days and nights are both counted. In this manner, a convict comes out within five years,” the South Asian country’s chief judge said. “It is time that we clear up these major misconceptions and figure out the span of a life sentence. It is a matter of public interest,” he added.