Unenviable title: Pakistan ranks third on a hanging scale

Published: February 19, 2016
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Country executed 324 people in 2015. PHOTO: ONLINE

Country executed 324 people in 2015. PHOTO: ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan hanged 324 people in 2015, the third most number of executions by countries worldwide, a rights group said in a report.

Reprieve, an international human rights group, and Justice Project Pakistan observed in their report that a majority of those put to death had no links to militant groups or attacks.

An unofficial moratorium on executions of only terror related convictions had been lifted in late 2014 under the National Action Plan (NAP) as a measure to deter militancy, after Taliban gunmen attacked and killed 147 people at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar.

Of the 351 executions that followed, only 39, or about 1 in 10, were those who had been either involved in or were linked to known militant group or were guilty of crimes linked to militancy.

The report, which analysed  media reports and data from courts, prisons and legal teams, noted that juveniles, mentally ill prisoners, and prisoners who had been tortured or had not received fair trials were among those had been executed. “The numbers show that the Pakistan government’s claims do not match reality,” said Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve.

Pakistan, where a moratorium had been in effect from 2008 to 2013, now ranks behind China and Iran in carrying out executions.

A spokesman from Pakistan’s interior ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Government officials had argued last year that the policy had helped deter attacks.

While militant, insurgent and sectarian attacks have fallen since 2014, it is unclear whether the decline is linked to the change in execution policy.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2016.

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