An innocent Pakistani prisoner in Indonesia, died from cancer.


Zulfiqar, 54, died from liver cancer on May 31, 2018. He was diagnosed with  stage 4 liver cancer in Dec. 2017, He was also suffering from chronic liver cirrhosis and Diabetes Mellitus. Dec. 2017. 


Zulfiqar is from Lahore, Pakistan but had been living in Bogor, West Java Province since 2000. He worked as a textiles worker until his arrest in 2004. Zulfiqar was detained by the police after 300 g of heroin were found on his acquaintance in a city that he was not even in at the time.

Zulfiqar’s trial is thought to have taken place on 20 January 2005 before the Tangerang District Court.  At trial, Zulfiqar pleaded not guilty to a charge of possessing 300g of heroin. Zulfiqar provided evidence that following arrest he was denied access to the Pakistani Embassy and that he was not granted access to an attorney for one month.

Zulfiqar told the Court that, after being arrested, he had been held at a house for three days and was punched, kicked and threatened with death until he signed a ‘confession.’ Zulfiqar also told the Court that this torture resulted in him being admitted to a police hospital for seventeen days where he underwent kidney and stomach surgery. Nevertheless, the Tangerang District Court upheld the validity of the ‘confession’.

His co-accused filed an affidavit which corroborated Zulfiqar’s evidence that the 300g of heroin did not belong to Zulfiqar. The Tangerang District Court held that the affidavit did not have any evidential value because it had not been dated.

His co-accused’s affidavit stated the following:

“…In inspection process, I was forced by Police and Police said that if I could say one more name hence my punishment would be decreased. I was forced to tell other person name, that is, Zulfikar Ali and Ginong. Because said pressure I admitted that said Heroin was gotten from Zulfikar Ali and Ginong. The truth is Zulfikar Ali and Ginong in this case was not involved or not related with said heroin. This letter is made truly, and I am ready to take its cause, in order that in this case Zulfikar Ali and Ginong were not guilt because of my action…”

Zulfiqar was not provided with a suitably qualified interpreter during his trial, and any assistance he did receive was in English. Zulfiqar’s first language is Urdu. He did not speak or understand Bahasa at the time of the trial and he had only a basic understanding of English.

When Zulfiqar refused to accept his guilt, a bribe of IDR 400 million was demanded to reduce the sentence from capital punishment to 10-15 years. He refused to pay the bribe and continued to proclaim his innocence. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by the Tangerang District Court, Banten Province on 14 June 2005. This was despite the prosecution arguing for life imprisonment and a IDR 150 million fine.

Zulfiqar appealed to the PT Banten High Court on 29 August 2005.  His appeal was rejected on 20 January 2006. Zulfiqar filed a further appeal in the Supreme Court but the date of this is unknown.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal and upheld his conviction along with the death sentence on 16 September 2008.[1],[2]

On 8 April 2013, Zulfiqar filed a peninjauan kembali application (a “PK” or case review).  In this application Zulfiqar’s lawyers presented the following information:

  1. Zulfiqar was not given a suitable interpreter at the trial. Zulfiqar’s language is Urdu and he does not know the English language well enough to be only given an English interpreter.
  2. Zulfiqar has cooperated with the Court as to the best of his ability.
  3. Zulfiqar has never been convicted of any narcotics activity in Pakistan or in Indonesia before. Zulfiqar is not a dealer.
  4. Zulfiqar has been convicted without evidence and it is unreasonable that he was given the maximum sentence of death.
  5. The sentence given to Zulfiqar does not follow sentences given to defendants in other cases, who were convicted of drugs offences in relation to much larger quantities of drugs. Zulfiqar was convicted in relation to 300g heroin that were not found in his possession. However, more lenient sentences were given by the Jakarta District Court to Setia Maharwa alias Rapi Mohammed Majid with 3 kg cocaine, Hillary K. Chimezie with 5.8 kg heroin and Flory binti Sophit with 71 capsules of heroin.

However, Zulfiqar’s PK was rejected on 5 May 2014. The grounds for rejection are unknown.

Zulfiqar, along with 13 other prisoners, were given 72 hours’ notice of execution by the Indonesian authorities. On 28 July 2016, the Indonesian authorities said that they would be carrying out the executions at or around midnight on 28 July, before the 72 hours’ notice expires. But in August 2016, Justice Project Pakistan spearheaded a nationwide campaign that resulted in high-level diplomatic intervention by the government of Pakistan. While Indonesia halted the execution at the time, it did not acquit Zulfiqar despite the egregious violations at every stage of his case.




Zulfiqar has been diagnosed with stage 4 terminal liver cancer. It has been confirmed by his physician that the cancer has been spread in both lobes of the liver. His scant hope for survival will only be through a liver transplant. His condition was, and remains, extremely serious – and doctors are uncertain that it would work.

Zulfiqar no longer goes to the hospital because he cannot afford the costs of doing so. Instead he languishes in the jail hospital which is not equipped to deal with his illness.

Doctors have given him about 3 – 6 months to live – all of which could be spent in jail that is not equipped to take care of a man as unwell as him.His medical bills have cost him over $37,000, part of which has been paid by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The rest he has had to raise himself by selling three houses in Indonesia and Pakistan.

He is also suffering from chronic liver cirrhosis and diabetes Mellitus. Both these conditions are unlikely to help him find a donor.



Mr Joko Widodo assumed the Presidency on 20 October 2014.

On 9 December 2014, a press report  quoted Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo stating that “There will be no mercy for drug traffickers” and that “[the President] was not planning to abolish capital punishment anytime soon, particularly in cases of drug trafficking”.

This was echoed by other government ministers and repeatedly articulated by the President. Justice Minister Yasonna was quoted as saying that the President “had declared war against drug traffickers, pointing to the increasing number of drug abuse victims.” The coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, was quoted as saying that traffickers “are still able to control their drug deals from inside the prison. The criminals are not sorry for what they have done. We must stop this”.

In a press report on 18 December 2014,  the President was quoted as saying “There are 64 [people] sentenced to death by the courts and as I’ve said about clemency request for drugs cases, I will never give clemency … Never will. Never will.  I’m stressing this again and again so that it’s all clear, so there will be no one who thinks that death penalty is [given] by the President.  The sentence is from the courts and we don’t give forgiveness or clemency.”



President Widodo will be addressing the Pakistani parliament during his visit scheduled for 26 January 2017.  The Government of Pakistan must press upon him to release Zulfiqar so that he may spend his last days with his family on his home soil.

It is the responsibility of the government of Pakistan to protect the fundamental rights of its citizens under international law and under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Article 4(1) of the 1973 constitution of Pakistan states:

“Right of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with law, etc.-(1) To enjoy the protection of law and to be treated in accordance with law is the inalienable right of every citizen, wherever he may be…”


[1] http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/508506bf2.pdf

[2] putusan Pengadilan Tinggi Banten No.30/Pid/2005/PT.Btn.

[3] putusan Mahkamah Agung RI No. 60 PK/PID.SUS/2008

[4] putusan Mahkamah Agung RI No. 2253 K/Pid/2005

[5] http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/no-mercy-for-death-row-inmates/

[6] http://www.theage.com.au/world/indonesian-president-joko-widodo-hardens-line-on-drug-offenders-on- death-row-20141218-12a8d7.html