ISLAMABAD -  The Supreme Court on Friday constituted a three-member medical board for determining the mental health of a schizophrenic convict, whose death sentence was upheld by the apex court last month.

A three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali took up the review petition of Safia Bano, the wife of Imdad Ali, the schizophrenic convict.

The medical board comprised Major-General Saleem Jehangir, Dr Farid Aslam Minhas and Col Nadeem Abbas. The board members have been asked to examine Ali’s mental health and submit a report in two weeks.

After the report was submitted, the case would be fixed for further hearing.

Advocate Sanaullah Zahid, appearing on behalf of the complainant, Ahmed Raza, argued that constituting a medical board would mean to reopen the case. He said that if that precedent was set, then every prisoner, whose death sentence is confirmed by the apex court, would take any step to show he/she was insane and could not be hanged.

Imdad Ali, from Burewala district of southern Punjab, was awarded the death sentence in 2001 for killing a cleric, Hafiz Abdullah. His sentence was upheld by all courts including the Supreme Court. The president has also rejected his mercy petition.

Zahid said that if the apex court set aside its own judgment in the review jurisdiction then it would convey a negative message to the society. He said that medicines were available in the market and after consuming them one’s mental health gets disturbed. He said Imdad Ali had been awarded death sentence by the trial court, and a high court and the apex court have also upheld the sentence and he should be hanged.

The chief justice observed that the death sentence has been suspended and not abolished, adding after the medical report they would pass an appropriate order. He said that the board would examine insanity factor. Zahid contended that there are judgments of Indian Supreme Court that “insanity does not bar execution of death sentence”.

The chief justice said for complete justice the Supreme Court could use article 187 of Constitution. Justice Muslim Hani said that examination of the convict by the medical board would not end his death sentence, and whenever he (Imdad Ali) would be normal he would have to face the gallows.

The Supreme Court on 31st October stayed the execution of the schizophrenic convict and issued notices to Advocate General and Prosecutor General, Punjab.

The convict’s wife Safia Bano had filed the review petition against the Supreme Court judgment, which held that a psychiatric disorder like schizophrenia does not subjugate the death sentence. “In our opinion, rules relating to mental sickness are not subjugative to delay the execution of death sentence which has been awarded to the convict,” it noted.