ISLAMABAD: Authorities issued a death warrant for a mentally ill condemned prisoner on Wednesday after the Supreme Court ruled that his schizophrenia is “not a permanent mental disorder”.

Lawyers and rights groups say convicted murderer Imdad Ali, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia while in prison in 2012, cannot be executed as he cannot understand his crime and punishment.

The death warrant was issued by a criminal court on the request of the Punjab government, said a statement by the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), which is providing Imdad Ali with counsel. He would now be executed on November 2 in a prison in Vehari, the JPP said.

Imdad, 50, was sentenced to death for the murder of a religious cleric in 2002. He had been sentenced to hang last month, but received a last minute stay of execution by the Supreme Court, before that expired last week.

Rights groups have slammed the ruling, with Amnesty International calling it “a deeply worrying development”.

Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, last week called the Supreme Court ruling “outrageous” and said it flies in the face of accepted medical knowledge - including in Pakistan.

“It is terrifying to think that a mentally ill man like Imdad Ali could now hang because judges are pretending that schizophrenia is not a serious condition,” Foa said, demanding Pakistan’s president intervene.