Pakistan concerned over EU resolution blocking death penalty

AGP says Pakistan’s law on death penalty should be respected by all


Hasnaat Malik June 18, 2017
AGP says Pakistan’s law on death penalty should be respected by all. PHOTO:AFP

ISLAMABAD: India is using every trick in the book to help out its RAW agent Kulbhushan Jadhav sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistani on April 10 this year over spying and stoking violence in Balochistan and Karachi.

After exhausting nearly all its resources in doing so, New Delhi approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the end of April and got a stay over the execution of the death penalty in the third week of May.

Now in June, a resolution has been passed by the European Parliament against the execution of convicted persons in Pakistan, and India is being seen as instigator of the move.

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“A lot of disinformation has been spread by India to hurt the standing of Pakistan in the international community,” said Attorney-General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali while talking to The Express Tribune.

“Pakistan is a frontline state suffering from the onslaught of terror and disruptive elements from across the borders,” said the AGP, adding that the human rights action plan was being implemented with full speed.

In response to the European Parliament’s resolution, he said, “The law of Pakistan on death penalty should be respected by all countries, including the European Union.”

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Recently, the European Parliament had expressed ‘deep concern’ over the ‘alarming rate of executions’ based on ‘flawed trials’ in Pakistan, and strongly called on the government to restore the moratorium on the death penalty, “with the longer-term objective of full abolition of the death penalty.”

In its resolution, the European Parliament issued a strong statement calling for a ban on the execution of minors and persons with mental disorders. It urged the Government of Pakistan to bring the provisions on death penalty in national legislation in line with the international law and standards, including “a halt to executions for any offence other than intentional killing.”

Currently, there are 27 crimes that are punishable by death in Pakistan, including non-lethal acts such as narcotics and adultery.

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Moreover, the EU expressed its dismay over cases of executions reportedly being carried out “while appeal mechanisms were still underway.”

Last year, two brothers on death row were acquitted by the Supreme Court only to find out that they had been executed the year before, while their appeals were still pending.

It is learnt that the European Parliament’s resolution came under discussion in the government circles. The AGP, as head of Treaty Implementation Cell, will be holding debriefing sessions with the Pakistani ambassador at Brussels in Belgium and with envoys in other EU-member countries. Later, the AGP will submit a report to the prime minister and cabinet members for consideration.

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Meanwhile, Pakistan ratified a number of international human rights treaties – including the Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to qualify for its GSP Plus status, a preferential trade status that had seen Pakistan’s exports rise by 22 per cent to 5.5 billion euros in 2014, making it one of the largest countries to reap benefits from the GSP Plus status granted to it.

In fact, Pakistani exports under the GSP Plus scheme increased to 6.2 billion euros from January to December 2016.

The resolution stated that “the granting of GSP Plus status is conditional and that the effective implementation of international conventions is an essential requirement under the scheme.”

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Failing to comply with these requirements can put these economic advantages at risk, and deprive Pakistan’s business community of lucrative trading opportunities.

However, it is pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court on April 21, 2015 had heard a similar case challenging the award of death sentence in 27 different offences.

The three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, had dismissed the petition filed by a representative of the Qaumi Watan Party, Barrister Zafarullah.

“Regarding the argument that the criminal justice system is unfair and unreasonable, and convicts and death punishments lack due process, it is suffice to say that this by itself is not a threshold or touchstone for striking down any law, rather if there is deficiency in the relevant law, it is the duty of parliament to provide for it or correct the law by making the necessary amendment.”

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The court had cited the passage of Article 10-A of the Constitution before dismissing the case.

COMMENTS (4)

VGP | 4 years ago | Reply Last year, two brothers on death row were acquitted by the Supreme Court only to find out that they had been executed the year before, while their appeals were still pending.: Need one say anything more about the Pakistani Judicial system
quatro | 4 years ago | Reply Rubbish. EU would prefer the elimination of death penalty in all countries and it threatened to pull the preferred trading status of Pakistan long before Jadhav was arrested.
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