Abdul Basit has been on death row in Pakistan since 2009. In 2010, he contracted tubercular meningitis, and was left paralyzed from the waist down due to medical negligence. Although he has to use a wheelchair, the Pakistani authorities have made three attempts to hang him in the past year, each of which was stayed at the last minute due to concerns his execution would be cruel and inhumane and violate both Pakistani and international law. Basit provided this piece via his lawyers at Justice Project Pakistan and international human rights organisation Reprieve
I have been told that my most recent stay of execution has expired, and that a new warrant could soon be issued for my hanging - even though there are no guidelines for the hanging of paralyzed prisoners. It is hard to say how I feel right now, waiting for another death warrant.
Twice in the past few months, a warder has come to my cell and told me, a 'black warrant' has been issued for your hanging - you are going to be executed on such a date. Both times, I felt nothing, and just replied, 'okay'.
One time, they actually led me up to the gallows. How can I describe the feelings I had that particular day in words? No one can. I was on a wheelchair; they had constructed a special slope to take me to the gallows. No one was there except the jail staff, who tied my arms behind my back, and they also tied my legs.
Seeing the gallows, I was silent. I started reciting the verses of the Quran to myself. I thought, my final day has arrived. It is time to go. It is the will of God, and nothing can be done against the will of God. But at the last minute, the authorities called it off.
For a long time now, I have been in the jail hospital. As I am a paralyzed man, I cannot move around, so I spend all my time on a bed. I spend most of my time doing Quranic calligraphy, and recitation. It keeps me busy and gives me strength.
Of course, I am in pain. I have been in pain ever since I became ill with tubercular meningitis in prison in 2010, which left me paralyzed. Ever since then, I have not been able to move from the waist down - I cannot even go to the toilet myself, and need medicine every day. I am dependent on others for everything, and it's very difficult.
My mother visits me every week or fortnightly. Sometime my sisters also visit me in the jail. Obviously it feels great when you see any family members - these visits are heartening for me and my family. They always try to soothe me, and try to make me understand that I am not alone in my sufferings - they are with me. It is a great support.
I have asked my children not to visit me, though - I don't want them to come here to see me in this situation, because I think it will have a bad impact on them. When I last saw my sons, I told them to work hard, study well and try to be a good person for their family, and society.
I want to thank Pakistan's President for his previous intervention into my case, which has led to stays of execution for me. I just hope our President will now approve another stay, so the government can find a permanent solution to my case. The stay of execution has expired, but the reason it was handed down is unresolved - the government has still not explained how my hanging would be legal under Pakistan's law.
I have a faith, and believe everything is written in destiny, so when the time will come I will die - nobody can stop it. But I still pray that everything will be alright - I will not be executed, but will live until my natural death.
For more on the campaign to save Abdul Basit, click here
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