This 24-hour performance will document a death row prisoner's final moments

This 24-hour performance will document a death row prisoner's final moments

Sarmad Khoosat with play the role of Prisoner Z. There will be no breaks. The play will go on for 24-hours straight
Updated 26 Sep, 2018

Do you know the terrifying 24-hours a death row prisoner goes through before execution?

A play titled 'No Time to Sleep' seeks to portray the same for audiences by charting the final days of Prisoner Z.

The role will be played by Sarmad Khoosat and the play will go on without any breaks. It will be live-streamed on

Set inside a replica of an actual death cell, Prisoner Z’s journey will begin on 26 September, 2018 at 12:00 PM (PST) – when his mercy petition is rejected. A social media prologue will depict rolling coverage of the execution warrant and the wheels that are set in motion to carry out his execution. Petitions are filed in court, the media is alerted, the family is notified that scrambles to make the harrowing trip to visit him for the last time.

When the live stream begins, Z will be sitting in his cell in solitary confinement, occasionally being silent, occasionally conversing with the guard who is watching him. But mostly, he will wait. This piece is primarily about the tyranny of time that is both long and short – running slow and running out – while the ropes are tested.

Through the Prologue, online content will inform followers how the death penalty in Pakistan has been implemented since the moratorium was lifted.

The play is a project of Justice Project Pakistan, in collaboration with Olomopolo Media and Highlight Arts and will be presented on October 10, which is World Day Against the Death Penalty. The concept is by Ryan van Winkle. It will be directed by Kanwal Khoosat and it has been produced by Iram Sana.

Zulfiqar was JPP’s first client, who spent 17 years on death row. In that time, his execution was scheduled and stayed more than 20 times. During his incarceration, Zulfiqar educated hundreds of prisoners, securing 22 degrees himself.

Sarah Belal, the JPP executive director says about the project: “For too long, executing states have shrouded this act of killing from the public, precisely because of how cruel, inhumane and degrading it can be. This performance is an attempt to take that hidden reality to the public, so they can know how the state takes a life. We are very excited to have someone of Sarmad’s stature present these stories that have remained untold for years.”

This performance hopes to portray what happens to prisoners prior to execution, based on accounts of guards, former prisoners and their families.

'No Time to Sleep' will begin streaming live at exactly 12:00 am, October 10, 2018.

An earlier version of this piece misstated Prisoner Z's name. The error is regretted.


Rubina Sep 18, 2018 05:38pm
There is nothing wrong with death penalty for killers. terrorists etc. Capital punishment is much effective in minimizing crimes.
Rubina Sep 18, 2018 05:43pm
Have pity on the innocent who is murdered instead of the murderer. Death Penalty is a justified punishment for killers in any form. Killing people should not be encouraged by going against such punishments. An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth is the correct.
JUST SAYING Sep 18, 2018 06:26pm
We should also see the other side of the story where the next 24 hours of suffering of the victim's family can be seen.
Sara Sep 18, 2018 07:30pm
@fairplay No reference to ZAB who was a prisoner for less than one year before being executed. The name Zulfiqar is a coincidence. Zulfiqar was an actual client of Justice Project Pakistan and remained on the death penalty row for 17 years before being executed. It's a gross torture of justice to kill a prisoner who has already served 17 years in jail.