ISLAMABAD - In a late-night development, the federal government for the second time halted the execution of Shafqat Hussain who was to be hanged today (Thursday) in Karachi Jail after protests from the civil society that the convict was juvenile at the time of committing the crime.

Though the Interior Ministry did not officially confirm the development, sources said execution was halted with the efforts of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Official sources said Interior Secretary Shahid Khan forwarded the summary to halt the execution of Shafqat Hussain to the presidency which stopped his hanging till further orders.

The civil society in Islamabad and Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, had held protests against the execution of Shafqat Hussain, a resident of AJK.

For the last few days, social media was insisting that a juvenile was sentenced to death in 2004 and that his punishment should be repealed.

Shafqat Hussain’ execution has been halted for the second time. Earlier, his execution was halted for two months on the directions of the Interior Ministry after the government lifted moratorium on capital punishment in terrorism cases in December last year.

An anti-terrorism court in Sindh awarded Shafqat Hussain capital punishment in 2004. In 2006, the Sindh High Court upheld that punishment. The Supreme Court also upheld that sentence in 2007. It was never contended before the trail court that Shafqat Hussain was juvenile at the time he committed the crime. For the first time this case was put up before the Supreme Court that he was underage. The Supreme Court rejected this plea. In 2012, during the previous government, the then president had rejected his mercy appeal.

Agencies add: Earlier, the Sindh government said that it had appealed to President Mamnoon Hussain to stay the execution of Shafqat Hussain.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon, while talking to a private TV channel on Wednesday night said that the provincial government has appealed to the president to stay the execution of Shafqat. The family of Shafqat Hussain also made fresh appeals to the government, complaining of a flawed justice system that allowed months of torture to extract a confession.