PM lifts ban on death penalty in terrorism cases

By AFP
Published: December 17, 2014
SHARES
Email
PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decided to end a moratorium on the death penalty in terror-related cases, the prime minister’s office announced Wednesday, a day after Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan gunmen killed 141 people, including 132 children, in an attack on a school in Peshawar.

The assault on the army-run school, the deadliest terror attack in Pakistan’s history, has triggered widespread revulsion.

Political and military leaders have vowed to wipe out the militants who have killed thousands of citizens in recent years.

“The prime minister has approved abolishment of moratorium on the execution of death penalty in terrorism-related cases,” an official from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office said.

Hanging remains on the country’s statute book and judges continue to pass the death sentence, but a de facto moratorium on civilian executions has been in place since 2008.

Only one person has been executed since then, a soldier convicted by a court martial and hanged in November 2012.

Rights campaign group Amnesty International estimates that Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row, most of whom have exhausted the appeals process.

Supporters of the death penalty argue that it is the only effective way to deal with the scourge of militancy.

The courts system is notoriously slow, with cases frequently dragging on for years, and there is a heavy reliance on witness testimony and very little protection for judges and prosecutors.

This means terror cases are hard to prosecute, as extremists are able to intimidate witnesses and lawyers into dropping charges.

Even when militants are locked up, they are often either freed soon afterwards on bail or able to continue their activities from behind bars.

In June last year the newly elected government scrapped the moratorium in a bid to crack down on criminals and militants.

But two weeks later it announced a further stay of executions after an outcry from rights groups and the then-president Asif Ali Zardari.

European Union officials indicated last year that if Pakistan resumed executions, it could jeopardise a highly prized trade deal with the bloc.

An EU rights delegation warned it would be seen as a “major setback” if Pakistan restarted hangings.

Reader Comments (15)

  • Saleem
    Dec 17, 2014 - 3:09PM

    This headless PM should have done more after MPC drama. Why all the madrases in the country are not declared banned, why they are not brought under ministery of education, why foreign government, particularly Saudi Arabia, is warned to stop funding any sect, school, or any organization within Pakistan. Why, why, why…….

    Recommend

  • Sonya
    Dec 17, 2014 - 5:56PM

    This is yet another evidence that Sharif do things only in public pressure.

    Recommend

  • Malik
    Dec 17, 2014 - 6:28PM

    Politics apart, good step

    Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Dec 17, 2014 - 6:35PM

    @Saleem:
    PM and other politicians including Imran are very small fish who cannot do anything. Its up to the third umpire to take critical decisions. Third umpire is the real force and game changers but so far I don’t think they wish to change anything. Still they are hesitant to call these terrorists with their real name. I am afraid, instead of doing the difficult, I mean going for all out war, they will make some adjustments with Taliban to avoid future attacks. PM, Imran and other politicians are just playing safe for their own and their supporters safety and security.

    Recommend

  • Wizarat
    Dec 17, 2014 - 6:46PM

    I need to see the action not just words as the PML N provides shelter and protection to many Terrorist organizations in Punjab such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, TTP, and others.

    When are you going to abolish the terror cell in Islamabad known as the Red Mosque with Jamia Hafsa and the other Madressas associated with this Masjid-e-Zarar.

    Recommend

  • Zahir
    Dec 17, 2014 - 8:15PM

    @Saleem,
    Your headless lord (Imran Niazi) should step in to fulfil your wishes. Everyone knows that majority of madrases are in KPK. New Pakistan (or new KPK) should prove this to the rest of the country and make it precedent by banning them in KPK first.

    Recommend

  • Waseem
    Dec 17, 2014 - 9:28PM

    it was long due. Hang all of them in a single day, which should be tomorrow.

    Recommend

  • shahid
    Dec 17, 2014 - 9:29PM

    Very late.Very little

    Recommend

  • Hamood
    Dec 17, 2014 - 9:59PM

    Should have been done a long time ago. Better late than never. Time to start hanging Taliban terrorists.

    Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Dec 17, 2014 - 10:25PM

    Though shall not kill is God’s commandment and stated unambigiously in scriptures. Every child of school age should be taught in the school. The Prime Minis commandments.

    Rex Minor

    Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 17, 2014 - 10:34PM

    It took the deaths of some 150 CHILDREN to get our so called leaders to do what should have been done years ago……..disgraceful lot they are.

    Recommend

  • Nida
    Dec 17, 2014 - 11:09PM

    Nawaz should not have followed zardari foot step. Nawaz just copied what zardari banned. If you are serious about it and really want this to be carried then Allah key wastey, do it in public. Its time to set a grave example.

    Recommend

  • Moiz Omar
    Dec 17, 2014 - 11:38PM

    I agree 100% with this!

    Recommend

  • umaima
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:36AM

    We could have 100s of deals similar to the EU one, once we eliminate taliban from Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Noman
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:41AM

    @Zahir:
    madrassas should not be banned, should be registered

    Recommend

More in Pakistan