Who is Shafqat, why is he being hanged, and why should we care?

Shafqat is safe… for now. This is the second time he has received a reprieve at the last minute. Kudos to Justice Project Pakistan and everyone who raised their voices and fought to prevent a terrible injustice from taking place. This is just one of many such cases in Pakistan where the justice system leaves much to be desired. That’s one reason I’m against the death penalty. If even one innocent is sent to the gallows, it is too much. There are too many chances of that happening, even in a ‘good’ system.

On another level, he is the victim of another system, the social and economic inequalities that forced him, as a young boy of 14 to leave his home in Azad Kashmir and go to Karachi looking for work. That was ten years ago. His mother has not seen him since – they are too poor to make the trip.

Journeys to democracy

Shafqat Hussain, photo taken before he left Muzaffarabad more than 10 years ago. Shafqat Hussain, photo taken before he left Muzaffarabad more than 10 years ago.

UPDATE: Jan 01, 2014: Funds urgently needed for Shafqat’s defence. Please click this link for details and see what you or your friends can do. Detailed BBC report Justice at risk as Pakistan rushes convicts to the gallows

This is Shafqat Hussain. A poor boy who was arrested for  kidnapping and murder when he was 14 years old. He confessed to the crime after nine days of police torture (they pulled out three fingernails, the cigarette burn marks are still visible on his body). He has been in Karachi jail for over 10 years now and is on the list of ‘terrorists’ to be hung (his date is set for Tues, Dec 23rd). He comes from a very poor family from Muzaffarabad, had a learning disability, had dropped out of school at grade 4, and run…

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