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HRCP alarmed over ‘record’ executions in Pakistan

HRCP has called for halting executions and abolishing the capital punishment.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the commission said: “The resumption of executions as well as the pace with which they are being carried out are matters of concern. The state of Pakistan executed 134 persons in the 12 months of 2007. In a little over five months in 2015, that number has already been exceeded. What is even more troubling is that this figure has been reached when nearly seven months of the year are still left.

“In the wake of a brutal terrorist attack in Peshawar, it was announced that the government will execute terrorists as an exceptional measure in exceptional times of need. Within weeks, however, nearly six years of informal moratorium ended and executions resumed for all death penalty offences.”

The statement reads: “Dozens of death row prisoners have been executed. In December 2014, seven prisoners were hanged. In January, 13 executions took place, while four convicts were hanged in February. The number shot up to 42 prisoners in March, 36 in April and 37 in May. At this pace Pakistan would be among the states most keen to execute people.

“HRCP wishes to reiterate that the circumstances for suspending capital punishment in the country for six years have not changed in the least. The well-documented deficiencies in law and a deeply flawed criminal justice system continue to pose threats of wrongful convictions. In fact, the prevailing circumstances have made it considerably more difficult for the accused to assert their due process rights, particularly the presumption of innocence until guilt is proved.

“Research has shown the world over that the death penalty does not lead to decreasing crime rates. The security situation in Pakistan since the resumption of executions provides further evidence of this.”

“Even if the government thinks that a complete halt to executions is not possible immediately for any reason, HRCP urges the government to stop executing all but those found guilty of committing the most serious crime. It must also continue to work towards the complete abolition of the death penalty in the country, beginning for instance with reducing the death penalty offences,” concluded the statement.



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