Sarmad Khoosat and the Justice Project teamed up with Dawn to create a twenty four hour live drama to document and depict the last twenty four hours of a death row inmate.
The one day drama is based on the life of Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Khan. He and his brother were traveling to their village when they were intercepted by two boys. Zulfiqaar’s brother, Khurshid, got shot and Zulfiqaar shot in self defense and the two boys were killed. Zulfiqaar spent the next many years on the death row, appealing to be pardoned. He was finally executed.
He was a man of letters in jail. He taught many people and earned many diplomas in jail. In this docudrama, Sarmad Khoosat is livestreamed for twenty four hours to show the tiniest details of an inmate who is about to be executed. He meets his family, reads the Quran, offers his prayers, smokes a cigarette, lies down, writes a poem by Robert Frost on the floor and waits for the time to come where his life eventually ends.
Sarmad Khoosat’s performance was both brave and groundbreaking. The performance was live streamed in the UK as well and received critical acclaim from audiences.
A few comments on #NoTimeToSleep Livestream have left me wondering if I even know how to do my job of communicating effectively:
'omg I love sarmad i didn't know he killed somebody' and then asking the CJP to forgive him.
— Jahanzeb Hussain (@hussainjahanzeb) October 10, 2018
Actress Mahira Khan gave a special shout out to Sarmad and for everyone to watch this drama:
— Mahira Khan (@TheMahiraKhan) October 9, 2018
Been dipping in and out of #NoTimeToSleep, a live performance of the final 24 hrs in the life of a death-row inmate. In awe of Sarmad Khoosat's stamina, his skill, but most of all his fidelity to the pain of Prisoner X. This is a huge undertaking as an artist. Thank you, Sarmad.
— Mira Sethi (@sethimirajee) October 10, 2018
Whatever your opinion on death penalty may be, the performance was a compelling tale to decide whether or not a punishment like that is even fair. In Zulfiqaar’s case, for example, he was given capital punishment in an act of self-defense. There are many other instances where people are given death sentences over crimes that do not equate loss of life.
Another argument is that whether the state is even allowed to take a life or if the state should have the power to execute its citizens. Most developed countries have done away with capital punishment. However countries like Saudi Arabia and United States of America still employ capital punishment in their legal systems.
Here are some more reactions from the performance from across social media.
Sarmad Khoosat is a living legend. Has set the bar so high with this performance that I don't think anyone can match that. 24 hours of non stop performance. No edits, no breaks. Phenomenal. #NoTimeToSleep
— peer (@thefakebeardo) October 10, 2018
Innovative. Harrowing. Powerful.#NoTimeToSleep
Also, Sarmad Khoosat continues his winning streak.
— Osman Khalid Butt (@aClockworkObi) October 10, 2018
Hard to watch #NoTimetoSleep but I can’t stop. Wish the ending could change somehow but the irreversible cannot be undone. Brilliant initiative @JusticeProject_ and @dawn_com Can’t believe @KhoosatSarmad has been in character for 16+ hrs now. What a toll it must be taking on him
— Zahra Anum (@Zahranum) October 10, 2018
I've run out of superlatives for Sarmad Khoosat's performance in #NoTimeToSleep.
This is his everlasting legacy. His 9th Symphony. His Joshua Tree. His statue of David. His Mona Lisa.
With four hours left, I keep trying to watch the stream but just can't continue for too long.
— Abid Hussain (@abidhussayn) October 10, 2018
#FawadKhan is logged on to https://t.co/QfqWCaiU6f to watch #NoTimeToSleep, a live performance of the last 24 hours of a prisoner on death row on October 10, the World Day Against the Death Penalty. Watch with us on https://t.co/666nDn7BCo pic.twitter.com/k5Eskh4S5P
— Images (@dawn_images) October 10, 2018