Presidency considers commuting death sentences to life imprisonment

The presidency has asked relevant ministeries, authorities to present advice to Ministry of Law, Justice by August 13.

Ppi August 12, 2012

KARACHI: The Presidency has begun to consider the possibility of commuting all death sentences into life imprisonment and has sought advice from relevant ministries and provincial authorities in this regard by August 13, revealed the former Federal Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney.

Burney, via his trust The Ansar Burney Trust International, has repeatedly sent petitions to President Asif Ali Zardari, requesting that all death sentences be commuted to life imprisonment considering that a large number of those on death row are either innocent or have already spent several decades awaiting the implementation of their sentence.

According to press release issued by Burney, a notice had been issued in July by the presidency to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, the Prime Minister's Secretariat, and the Chief Secretaries of all provinces to present views on the petitions and the possibility of commuting all death sentences into life imprisonment.

The notice issued by the presidency requests for advice from the various branches of government to be presented to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs by August 13 for consideration by the government, the release added.

There are currently over 7,500 prisoners in Pakistani jails condemned to death, including women and children. Many are innocent and victims of false testimonies or circumstances.

Hundreds of these prisoners were now physically and mentally disabled due to decades of imprisonment.

The president has either stayed or postponed executions in the past two years, including that of Behram Khan and Hafiz Jaleel Morejo.