PAKISTAN: Imminent execution of a juvenile offender

Dear friends

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) are forwarding information from the International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) on imminent execution of a juvenile offender, Mohammad Amin, aged 16. Your urgent action is required to pressure the Pakistan government to commute the death sentence of Mohammad Amin.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact OMCT. 

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Case PAK 280803.CC
Child concern/Death penalty 

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Pakistan.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a reliable source of the imminent execution of a young man, Mohammad Amin, who was 16 at the time of committing his offence.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has upheld the death penalty awarded to Mohammad Amin although he was below 17 at the time of committing his offence. Pakistan recently abolished the death penalty against minors by introducing a new Juvenile Justice System Ordinance in July 2000. Also, under the Qisas and Diyat law, a minor cannot be awarded the death penalty. But in this case, the trial Court erroneously entered the age of the young man as 18 and he is now facing capital punishment imminently. At this critical time, only the President of Pakistan, General Pervaiz Musharaf, has the powers to commute his death sentence.

According to the information received, three persons entered a house in Rawalpindi and one of them, who was later recognized as Mohammad Amin, opened fire on the people present in the room. The shots resulted in the death of one person and injured two. The accused, including Mohammad Amin, were arrested and tried by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi. The court sentenced Amin to death on Jan 21st, 2000. At that time, the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance had not yet been passed, and the death penalty was still applicable to minors in certain cases. However, sections 306 and 308 of Pakistan Penal code were in support of the accused, since minors are excluded from the list of offenders who are considered liable to Qisas (Life for life) as a major punishment. Yet, the issue of Mohammad Amin’s age was not raised during the trial, and he was recorded improperly as being 18 both by the Court and in his medical report, merely on the basis of his appearance. 

After the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance came into force, Mohammad Amin’s lawyer decided to appeal. This first appeal was dismissed by the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court on 13th September 2001 on the grounds that the issue of age had not been raised before the trial Court. Morevoer, the High Court confused the medical report of the boy with that of another person, Naseer Ahmad, who had received injuries during the events and therefore recorded him to be now 30 years old.

Hence, when the special presidential remission through which the death penalties of all juvenile offenders were converted into life imprisonment was announced in Dec 2001, Mohammad Amin could not benefit from it as he was incorrectly recorded as being 30. 

The error of the High Court was raised before the Supreme Court, which turned down the plea on 19th March 2002, observing that the trial Court had raised the issue of the age of the accused as being 30 years old. This was a mistake as the trial Court had not raised his age and had recorded it as being 18. However, the Supreme Court confirmed its decision in a final review petition on 20th June 2003. The review petition was heard by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Sheikh Riaz Ahmad in Islamabad on 28th April. Judge Mian Mohammad Ajmal of the Supreme Court stated that according to the birth and school leaving certificates, the petitioner was born on June 5, 1981, and on the date of the offence, February 7, 1998, he was indeed 16. But he contended that the trial Court had mentioned the age of the defendant as being 18 and that the same age was mentioned in the medical report, however the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court had later erred in recording his age as 30. But since the petitioner’s counsel had not raised the issue of his age before the trial Court, the Supreme Court would not accept his plea at the appellate stage. In its order, written by Judge Mian Mohammad Ajmal, the bench observed: “Since the question of age of the petitioner has been appropriately considered and repelled by this court in the judgment under review, therefore, the same cannot be re-agitated and reargued in review petition.” 

From a legal perspective, the issue of Mohammad Amin’s age should indeed have been raised and corrected in the first instance. The responsibility of an advocate is to assist the court, however it is the duty of the court or the presiding officer to gather and keep as much information as required in a particular case for a fair decision and the dispensation of justice. Hence, the court itself (the trial court as well as the appellate court) should have taken notice of the age of accused by using its suo moto powers.

The International Secretariat of OMCT expresses its grave concern about the inhuman consequences of the judgement and the approaching date of execution of Mohammad Amin. OMCT strongly supports the principles enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) ratified by Pakistan, and in particular article 37 which forbids the imposition of “capital punishment (…) for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age (…)” OMCT has applauded the introduction of Pakistan’s Juvenile Justice System Ordinance but it is deeply concerned about the authorities complying with it.

OMCT urges the President of Pakistan, General Pervaiz Musharaf, to commute his sentence on the grounds that he was a child at the time of the offence, as contended by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Action requested

Please write to the President of Pakistan, General Pervaiz Musharaf, and other authorities concerned in Pakistan, urging them to commute the death sentence of Mohammad Amin.


President, Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad, Pakistan, Fax: +92 51 922 4768, E-mail: 

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mian Khursheed Mahmud Kasuri, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Constitution Avenue, Islamabad, Pakistan, Fax: +92 51 920 2518/922 4205/4206, E-mail:

Minister for the Interior, Faisal Saleh Hayat, Ministry of Interior, Block R, Federal Secretariat, Islamabad, Pakistan, Fax: +92 51 9202624, E-mail:

Ambassadeur Umer Shaukat, Rue de Moillebeau 56 (4?e) – CP 434, CH-1211, Geneve 19, Suisse, E-mail:, Fax: +41 22 734 80 85

Please also write to the embassies of Pakistan in your respective country.

Geneva, 10th September 2003

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT)
8 rue du Vieux-Billard
Case postale 21
CH-1211 Geneve 8
Tel. : 0041 22 809 49 39
Fax : 0041 22 809 49 29
E-mail :

Thank you.

Kim Soo A
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-37-2003
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Death penalty,