Sarmad Khoosat Plays ‘Prisoner Z’ In A 24 Hours Long ‘Live’ Performance Charting Last Hours Of A Prisoner Before Execution

As a protest and to raise awareness against the death penalty on October 10th (World’s Day Against the Death Penalty), Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) and Sarmad Khoosat have brought forward an incredibly powerful performance with the play ‘’No Time To Sleep’’.

It is 24 hours long live performance without any cuts and edits, in its purest form in which Sarmad Khoosat is playing the character of prisoner Z. Prisoner Z will be executed tomorrow and the play shows his final 24 hours in solitary confinement.

Prisoner Z is referred to as Doctor Zulfiqar, who was convicted for murdering robbers in self-defence. He spent 17 years in prison, and 7 years on death row before he was finally executed but Doctor Zulfiqar wanted to correct the very society that had wronged him.

A Picture of Doctor Zulfiqar Ali (being played as Prisoner ‘Z’ by Sarmad Khoosat)

Inside the premises of the prison, he managed to complete 2 masters’ degrees and also obtained MD in Herbal Sciences from AIOU (Allama Iqbal Open University).  But he didn’t only wanted to improve his own academic standards but also wanted to convey what he knew. He taught 300 fellow prisoners how to read and write. Hundreds of them completed their matriculation from him, 80 passed their FA, 60 graduated and 8 of them went on for Masters.

Doctor Zulfiqar not only fell victim to the troubled justice system of the society but also complained of not being given a qualified lawyer. JPP, many journalists and even the prisoners he taught wrote letters to the newspapers requesting to let him live and change his execution into life imprisonment so he continues to contribute the way he did.

‘No Time To Sleep’ is a devastating yet powerful performance by Sarmad Khoosat who shows us a range of emotions as the time of his execution comes near.
The first stage is denial as prisoner Z’s execution was upheld 20 times. As the time nears and he gets the assurance that it is his final night, the signs of depression start to appear in his behaviour. He’s seen repeatedly pressing his fingers because he feels cold, then unconsciously hitting the wall with his feet showing desperation. Sarmad is sitting there on his prison floor getting tea and biscuits – the only food prisoners are allowed to eat before they’re executed so they don’t fall sick.

The play and one-off performance by Sarmad Khoosathaves invoked many emotions and social media cannot help but share their thoughts on it.

The meaningful play is still going on. Join Prisoner Z in his final hours HERE.


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