Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa wants the jail term for a life sentence to be clearly defined.
“It is wrong to think that life imprisonment is for 25 years,” he said while hearing a case on Monday. The top judge has formed a larger bench to take notice of the matter and the Registrar’s Office has been ordered to fix the hearing in the first week of October. Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan, the provincial advocate generals and prosecutors have been issued notices.
The court was hearing a review petition filed by Haroonur Rasheed, who has been given a life sentence 12 times in 12 different cases.
There are many misconceptions about life sentences, said Justice Khosa. “It is time to correct those.” When we don’t know how long a person will live, then how should we decide what will be its half, he asked. Should a life imprisonment be for 25 years or someone’s remaining life, he said, adding that he was waiting for such a case where they get to decide how long a life imprisonment should last.
This is a matter of public importance, he said.
On June 17, Justice Khosa remarked that people have misunderstood the concept of life imprisonment. People think a life sentence is only for 25 years, he remarked while hearing on a review application against a death sentence.
“A life sentence means that a person will have to live in prison for as long as that person is alive,” he said. If people understood its real meaning then they would file applications seeking the death sentence instead, he said.