Pakistan reaches dubious milestone of 100 executions since lifting moratorium
Pakistan lifted the moratorium on 17 December 2014 in the wake of the Taliban attack on Army Public School in Peshawar, which claimed around 150 lives, most of them schoolchildren.
Munir Hussain, sentenced to death for murder, was hanged in Vehari district jail of Punjab early morning today. He was convicted of killing his nephew and niece over a property dispute back in Year 2000.
The moratorium, in force since 2008, was initially lifted only in terrorism cases. But the government extended the order in March, directing the provincial governments to proceed with hangings for all death row prisoners who have exhausted their appeals and clemency petitions.
The government of Pakistan believes that the lifting of ban on executions will help the country in its counter terrorism drive against militants of various hues including the Taliban insurgency in the South Asian country.
Pakistan has suffered the brunt of terrorism attacks and militancy in various parts of the country resulting in thousand civilian and military deaths in the country.
The country’s military has launched an offensive against militants in North Waziristan tribal region and Khyber Agency, which deemed as the bastions of militancy in Pakistan.
Amnestry International campaigning against executions in the world has criticized the rapidly soaring number of executions in Pakistan.
“….. reaching the mark of 100 executions in just over four months, the Pakistani authorities are showing total disregard for human life. Our concerns are heightened by manifestly unfair trials in many cases that fall well below minimum standards set by international law. This conveyor belt of killing will do nothing to address the root causes of crime and terrorism, and must end immediately,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.
“Executions in Pakistan have picked up pace alarmingly in recent weeks, and are now an almost daily occurrence. If the government does not immediately re-impose a moratorium on executions, there is no telling how many more lives will be lost this year,” the statement said.
“Serious crimes like murder and acts of terrorism are utterly reprehensible but killing people in the name of justice is not a particular deterrent. Those who carry out crimes must be prosecuted in fair trials, but without resort to the death penalty,” the rights group demanded.
Amongst thousands at risk is Shafqat Hussain, whose lawyers say he was a juvenile at the time of his trial during which evidence obtained as a result of torture was used against him.
In the world today, 140 countries have abolished executions in law or practice.
Amnesty International is campaigning to abolish the death penalty throughout the world.