Here's Why This Pakistani Passed Away After Spending 14 Years In Jail For A Crime He Did Not Commit

By Alveena Jadoon | 1 Jun, 2018

Zulfiqar Ali was a Pakistani man belonging to the Mughalpura area of Lahore, who was arrested for a crime committed in a country he was not even in at the time.


In 2004, the flatmate of Zulfiqar Ali was caught with 300 grams of heroin in Jakarta but Zulfiqar was wrongfully accused of the crime and sentenced to death

He was moved to an Indonesian prison and spent around 14 years in the prison before losing his battle to cancer.


Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) – a legal firm which provides pro bono legal services to the most vulnerable prisoners of Pakistan – picked up Zulfiqar’s case and have always maintained that the man was innocent and a victim of the violations of due process during his trial

The 53-year-old was a father of five but this conviction led to him never being able to see his family.

An inquiry was initiated in 2010 on the orders of the former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which found Zulfiqar innocent in the case but no action was taken – both by the Indonesian and Pakistani authorities. The report has also been made public but even that did not help with his case because authorities on both sides were nonchalant about saving an individual who was wrongfully accused of a crime and had to spend years in prison.

This is a classic story of confession based on torture – he was beaten and tortured to get a forceful confession out of him. While this makes the life of authorities easier and cases are closed sooner but many innocent people end up rotting in prisons their entire lives.


In 2016, the Indonesian authorities halted the execution of Zulfiqar Ali but he was moved to Nusakambangan prison island, where the executions take place.

This was despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence – the Indonesian authorities told Pakistani authorities that his execution was imminent. Zulfiqar was suffering from chronic liver cirrhosis and Diabetes Mellitus but in 2017 he developed stage four liver cancer. He was not going to survive this disease and Justice Project Pakistan urged the government to help him return as a free man to the country but no action was taken.

On May 31, 2018 Zulfiqar was moved to the ICU because his condition started deteriorating more and he stopped responding to the efforts being made to save him. This is when people on Twitter started urging authorities to help him out and let him die a free man.


It should not come as a surprise that we were once again late and a man lost his life because of that. He passed away in Indonesia – a country that was not his and for a crime that he did not commit


The lawyer of Zulfiqar Ali took to Twitter to talk about her first client and how resilient he was in his belief that he would ultimately return home


The case was even brought up in the parliament by Shazia Mari but no action was taken

This is being attributed to the belief that our country, despite knowing of their citizen being wrongfully convicted, has failed to develop a consular policy for its citizens in other countries.


The Embassy of Pakistan in Indonesia was very helpful in the case but Zulfiqar Ali could have only been saved if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was more vigilant and actually cared about the case

This is how we treat our own and it is a shame that these individuals die with so much faith in the institutions and love for the country.

Every day we fail him and many like him, who are either wrongfully accused of crimes or are waiting for justice. Both the justice system of Pakistan and the federal government are to be held accountable for these cases. Where are the suo moto notices in these cases? Who will save these individuals who suffer at the hands of the law?


Meet Asma Nawab, The Lady Who Was Failed By Pakistan’s Justice System



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