Probably the only point of National Action Plan being religiously implemented is the one dealing with the executions of death convicts. Starting two days after the children’s massacre at Army Public School Peshawar, the execution frenzy has never stopped.

The argument in support of lifting the moratorium on death penalty was that government wanted to firm up the writ of the state in order to check crime rate and terrorism. Also, the executions were expected to give a message to the terrorists that the state was alive and responsive. Fair enough. Some terrorism might stop if only the state institutions do what they are meant to be doing.

But honestly, is it just the missing writ of the state or something else too? The writ through executions of random convicts – not related to terrorism – has no meanings when the actual terrorists keep threatening the state. Remember a military operation on Islamabad’s Lal Masjid? Remember those seven Army soldiers from SSG who were martyred in the operation? Remember the terrorists hiding inside Lal Masjid killed them? Remember who was heading Lal Masjid at that time? Remember who got arrested while escaping in a burqa during the operation? Yes, the same person.

The court acquitted him on all counts. He still leads prayers at Lal Masjid. After Peshawar attack when citizens lashed out on him for justifying the attack and demanded his arrest, he during the Juma sermon dared the state to arrest him or be ready for the action by thousands of suicide bombers who would sneak into every city of Pakistan. The leader of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an anti-Shia terrorist organization, goes public on claiming several attacks on Shia community with a pledge to do more. Only two weeks ago, there were two conferences in Lahore and Karachi by clerics of anti-Ahmadi background who openly threatened Ahmadi citizens of Pakistan to either embrace Islam or leave the country. State has no answer to any of them and to scores others. There you go!

The unbearable duplicity of the purported logic of executions built on the ‘lack-of-the-state-writ’ argument however is a questionable premise. Perhaps no other argument could be as flawed as saying executions would ensure safety from terrorism; executions of presumed robbers and kidnappers, that is to say. In the same country, it so happened that the killer of a sitting Governor, who perpetrated a crime in the name of religion, in broad day light right inside a market place, was not considered an act of terrorism by the worthy court.

But this child – aged 14 when he was convicted – who was made to confess a kidnap for ransom, and did not have even the remotest link to any terrorist organisation. He suffered mainly because of his accident of birth in a family with no capital. He is destined to settle with capital punishment. This might be the story of thousands if not hundreds of thousands either languishing in jails having been convicted or trying hard to prevent getting convicted.

Shafqat’s case, when highlighted by Justice Project Society (JPC) and other human rights groups, it was already too late. He had been convicted, spent ten years in jail andformer President Asif Ali Zardari had rejected his mercy petition in 2012.

According to Sarah Belal, the head of JPC, the case is fraught with instances of sheer mockery of justice at so many points.

As per the case details, the parents of deceased Umair – aged 7 at the time of murder – had said in the court that Shafqat who used to work in the building they lived in, was very attached to their children. The kids would often stay with Shafqat whenever the mother had to go out for errands. On April 10, 2004, when Umair went missing and the parents went to lodge the police complaint, they took Shafqat along because of being close and his being helpful in searching for the kid.

Forty-two days after the kidnapping, Shafqat was still working in the building when he was arrested by the police, taken into illegal custody and tortured badly. He was tied, beaten, burned with cigarettes and his private parts electrocuted. JPC says that ten years later, Shafqat still has those scars on his body. After keeping several hours in detention and torturing him, the police demanded Rs 100,000 as bribe, which Shafqat obviously could not arrange for his extremely poor background. For good nine days, he was kept in illegal detention and was tortured into signing the confession statement. It is also important to note that Shafqat’s conviction stands on his confessional statement only, with no evidence supporting it. Legal experts might tell how much weight a confessional statement has, which was taken under duress and torture.

Shafqat had been alerting the trial court about the torture and coercion. The case record has following statement from Shafqat:

“I had recorded my confessional statement under the pressure of the police as I was in handcuffs and the chain of the handcuffs was in the hand of police constable who was standing behind me therefore under the pressure I had made such confessional statement. I was also subjected to torture for recording of the confessional statement.”

“It is also important to note that the Magistrate who recorded Shafqat’s confession was a woman and therefore did not personally examine Shafqat’s body for signs of torture” says JPC. But her bailiff examined Shafqat, however the Bailiff’s statement was never recorded. In his TV program Mr. MoeedPirzada claimed that Shafqat’s age was 23 and not 14 when he was convicted because that’s what the case record says. I would humbly remind him that cherry-picking might not be the best journalism, as the line that describes his age wrongly, is preceded by the wrong name of his father. Will the worthy journalist now start saying Shafqat’s father is not his father?

Shafqat did not even have a lawyer in trial court until one present in the court voluntarily offered to represent him. He resigned after third appearance, because of his inability to show up and work on the case but the worthy judge did not accept it. The disinterested counsel, the messed up criminal justice system and Shafqat’s absolutely zero access to money for buying good defense landed him on the death row.

The unfortunate fact is, when most dangerous of the terrorists like AkramLahori are not being even touched, cases of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba’sLakhvi are beingdragged, the cases like Shafqat are being hastened up for executions. That too in the backdrop of the promise made by the Interior Minister on the floor of the House with Shafqat’s name that he would not go for executions without meticulous investigations made into the case. Later, ChaudhryNisar had also promised a DNA test for determining Shafqat’s age. None of it was done to date. When I’m writing these lines, TahaSiddiqi informs that he has spoken to Shafqat’s brother who confirms that family was not even contacted for any kind of investigation into his juvenility.

This is last call to you Minister, sir. You would not be able to sleep ever if you do not do justice today. Even if there is one percent of doubt in a case, that has to exhaust all possibility of further investigation. I know you are a father too. Save Shafqat!