ISLAMABAD - A Division Bench (DB) of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday reserved its verdict regarding maintainability of an intra court appeal (ICA) moved by death row convict Shafqat Hussain seeking formation of a judicial commission to determine his age.

The DB comprising Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui conducted the hearing of the ICA filed by the convict against the decision of a single bench of IHC which had earlier turned down his plea to constitute a judicial commission in this matter.

During the hearing, Dr Tariq Advocate, the counsel for the petitioner, submitted arguments regarding the maintainability of the petition. He contended before the court that he had filed an application against the FIA enquiry conducted to determine the age of his client at the time of the crime but the same was dismissed by a single bench of IHC.

At this the court asked from the counsel that why he had challenged the enquiry when it ascertained the age while the appeal could be filed at the time of trial of the case.

Dr Tariq stated that they had filed a clemency appeal with the President of Pakistan and this enquiry should have been done through a judicial forum.

The court asked from the counsel that how President of Pakistan would verify the age of the convict. In this response, the counsel requested the court to constitute a judicial commission in this regard.

He continued that birth certificate of Hussain was cancelled but it was not told that who did this.

Justice Siddiqui remarked that it was the failure of the whole judicial system if the result of enquiry report was in your favour and you had never asked to constitute the judicial commission.

Justice Qureshi asked whether the facts could be challenged in clemency appeal? He added that in the light of Supreme Court judgment only a judicial forum could ascertain the age of any accused while your client had opted to move an appeal with the President.

Later, the court reserved its verdict regarding the maintainability of the ICA.

Shafqat was arrested and sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in 2004 for the kidnapping and murder of a seven-year-old boy in 2001 from an apartment in Karachi where he was working as a guard. His execution has been delayed three times as confusion over whether he was a juvenile when he convicted the crime.