KARACHI - An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi on Wednesday issued black warrant for death-row prisoner Saulat Mirza . The activist of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) would be executed on March 19 at 5:30am.

Earlier, jail authorities had submitted an application in the ATC Karachi requesting it to issue a black warrant for the condemned prisoner.

Mirza was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in May 1999 for murdering Managing Director Karachi Electric Supply Corporation Shahid Hamid, his driver Ashraf Brohi and guard Khan Akbar in July 1997.

Mirza and four other high-profile prisoners were moved to Balochistan’s Machh Jail in April 2014 due to security concerns.

In May last year, Mirza’s brother submitted a petition in the high court to move him to a Karachi prison. He argued that his brother had been shifted to the Machh Jail without orders of the competent authority or any notification.

The petition had been disposed of by provincial authorities on the pretext of security reasons. Mirza had also submitted a mercy petition before the president which was rejected after it remained pending for a long time.

The authorities in Machh Jail received the death warrant on Wednesday.

Mirza was arrested by police officer Chaudhry Aslam in 1998 from Karachi airport when he was returning from Bangkok. He is currently confined in Machh Jail Balochistan and will be brought back to Karachi for execution.

His execution remained blurred even after the moratorium on death penalties was lifted by the government.

Since, the government has categorically directed all the provincial home departments to resume hangings of all prisoners whose mercy petitions have been rejected, Mirza’s warrants have been issued. So far, after the Peshawar school massacre, 24 condemned prisoners have been hanged. At least 8,000 prisoners are still on death row confined in different jails across Pakistan.