ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Tuesday rejected second review petition of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) activist Saulat Mirza , scheduled to be hanged on March 19, against his death sentence.

An anti-terrorism court in Karachi issued black warrants for March 19 for Saulat Mirza , currently incarcerated in Mach jail, Balochistan.

Counsel for Mirza, Latif Khosa, appearing before Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk in his chamber, prayed to the chief justice to revisit the earlier judgment of the apex court and convert his death sentence into life imprisonment, arguing a criminal cannot be awarded two types of sentences for the same crime.

The SC dismissed his review appeal on March 9, 2004, while the SHC dismissed his appeals on January 21, 2000, and September 14, 2001, respectively. A mercy appeal was sent to the then president of Pakistan, which was also rejected. Another appeal was lodged with President Mamnoon Hussain who rejected the same on January 1, 2015.

The apex court office on January 6 returned Mirza’s review petition on the grounds that a three-judge SC bench, headed by Justice Syed Deedar Hussain Shah, had already dismissed the earlier review petition on March 9, 2004.

Mirza’s review petition, filed by Latif Khosa, stated the incident took place on July 5, 1997, while the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997, was promulgated on August 20. The petitioner has been convicted under 7(i)(a) of the ATA, 1997, read with Section 302 of Pakistan Penal Code at the same time.

Mirza was sentenced to death by an ATC in May 1999 for murdering the then Karachi Electric Supply Corporation managing director, Shahid Hamid, his driver Ashraf Brohi and guard Khan Akbar in July 1997.

In the second review petition, Mirza requested the apex court to revisit its Sept 14, 2001, judgment turning down his appeal against the Sindh High Court’s verdict of Jan 21, 2000, which upheld the death sentence awarded by the ATC.

The Supreme Court had held that the wife and son of the deceased, being independent and uninterested witnesses, had testified that they had seen Mirza firing at Shahid Hamid.

Mirza requested the apex court to consider summoning of the record of a 1997 human rights case, containing statements of Shahid Hamid’s widow, Shahnaz, and son Umair and the proceedings relating to the murder in question.

He argued that Shahnaz Hamid who was an eyewitness had picked him during an identification parade 540 days after the occurrence (10 days after his arrest). But in her statement recorded in the 1997 human rights case, she unambiguously stated that she had reached the crime scene after the incident and had not seen the culprits. So was the position of Umair Shahid, he contended.

The petitioner contended he had been arrested in Dec 1998 and sentenced to death on May 24, 1999, after which he had been in the death cell and had undergone life imprisonment with remissions in the prison.