There is an urgent need for different state institutions to be on the same page when it comes to capital punishment and juvenile offenders. Under Pakistan’s last period of military rule, a certain enemy combatant oversaw the enacting of the JSSO (Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000). And as such, the law is clear: those below 18 years of age when held for a crime shall not be sentenced to death. Then, the following year, those below the age of 18 at the time of a crime committed before 2000 were also brought into the ambit of the JSSO, by way of presidential notification. This is the tragedy of today’s Pakistan. Meaning that instead of overhauling a flailing legal process to ensure that no juvenile suspects face the gallows — democratically elected governments in the post-Gen Musharraf period have failed to even secure a parliamentary stamp of approval for the JSSO. A report published by the Justice Project of Pakistan earlier this year claims that about 10 percent of those on death row in the country’s prisons fall in the category of juvenile offenders. And now, execution warrants have been issued for one of these prisoners. Police records put Muhammad Iqbal’s age at 17-years when he was detained following a shooting incident back in 1999. Subsequently, a trial court sentenced him to death. In 2002, his appeals were thrown out by both High Court and Supreme Court. Astonishingly, both appellate courts acknowledged his status as a juvenile at the time of the crime. Yet, the courts upheld his death sentence. Iqbal has been incarcerated for 18 years now. That constitutes more than a custodial life sentence. He has served what should lawfully have been his sentence for the crime he committed in 1999. Under what legal authority does the state of Pakistan intend to proceed with execution warrants in this instance? Furthermore, Iqbal’s warrants come at a time when the country is set for a United Nations review on human rights. Against this backdrop, it is a welcome relief that the National Human Rights Commission has taken up the issue and urged the relevant authorities to revoke Iqbal’s execution orders. We hope that those concerned pay some attention to the relevant laws and act upon the NCHR’s appeal. Bluntly put, each second that Iqbal spends incarcerated is another second wrongfully stolen from his life; a life that is guaranteed to him by the country’s Constitution. * Published in Daily Times, July 5th , 2017.