Islamabad- Clarifying the reason for the stay in executions of death-row convicts, Saulat Mirza and Shafqat Hussain , who were scheduled to be hanged early today morning, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said their executions have been halted for 72 hours owing to different reasons.

“We have put on hold Saulat Mirza’s execution for 72 hours owing to health concerns,” Nisar apprised the National Assembly.

Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, Nisar skirted around the issue of the convict’s heavy allegations from his death cell, but added that Mirza was involved in other heinous murders along with that of former KESC MD Shahid Hamid.

Nisar said he wanted to take the house into confidence regarding his meeting with British High Commissioner, as well as the staying of executions of Saulat Mirza and Shafqat Hussain . “Another case came before us of Shafqat Hussain , who was not well enough to be hanged,” he said, referring to Mirza.

“So for different cases, for different reasons we stayed both the executions for 72 hours. This decision was taken late last night.”

Nisar also said that while no documentary evidence has been given to him that confirms Shafqat’s status as a juvenile, the government issued a stay on his execution, due to the questions being raised on Pakistan’s justice system. “We have moved pillar and post to assess whether the age quoted in jail records and before the courts till 2012 are correct or not,” he said.

“This is not my responsibility. It is the responsibility of the accused, the affected party. But I did my best. Till last night, no proof came before me. But because a question is being raised on our justice system, on the advice of the prime minister and interior ministry, the president issued the notification.”

He reiterated that a decision will be taken within 36 hours, and that there is no DNA evidence that can determine Shafqat’s age at the time of the crime.

“We contacted NADRA in Azad Jammu and Kashmir where he hails from, but there is no evidence to prove he was juvenile at the time of conviction,” Nisar added.

Referring to his speech in the National Assembly two days ago, Nisar upheld he had stated they will halt his execution if evidence was brought forward proving his age. “But there is no evidence and we have stayed it for 72 hours.”

On his meeting with British High Commissioner Phillip Barton, he said that the Dr Imran Farooq murder case came under discussion, but that the issue should not be politicised. “We have made no official request to the British government,” he said.

The Minister said it is responsibility of the Pakistan government that to provide, whatever proofs it has, to bring the killers of Dr Imran Farooq justice.

He said the matters regarding use of uncivilized language for security agencies, Rangers and armed forces came under discussion during his meeting with British High Commissioner to Pakistan yesterday.