China executes Pak man on drug smuggling charges

Syed Zahid Hussain Shah, who was arrested in 2008, was put to death by lethal injection in Shanghai.

Shanghai: China has executed a Pakistani man, Syed Zahid Hussain Shah, over charges of drug smuggling despite last-ditch appeals for clemency, his family and human rights groups have claimed.

According to the BBC, Shah, who was arrested in 2008 and was convicted last year, was put to death by lethal injection in Shanghai on Wednesday.

Four other Pakistanis arrested with Shah were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Shah’s family members and human rights groups had earlier urged the Chinese government to stop the execution and asked the Pakistani government to take up appeals on the 35-year-old’s behalf.

However, there was no comment from either government.

“Executing someone for drug-related offences violates internationally accepted standards for imposing the death penalty,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) had said that the death penalty could have been turned into life sentence with a single call from Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.

“It is the primary duty of the Pakistan government to come forward and save the life of any Pakistani citizen who is made a victim because of the wrong advice from his lawyer and the sheer negligence of staff of the Pakistan embassy in Beijing,” the AHRC had said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Shah’s cousin, Tasneem Fatima, claims that he was framed for a crime he did not commit.