Presidency considers commuting death sentences to life imprisonment

Published: August 12, 2012
Zardari has asked relevant ministries and authorities for their advice on the matter. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

Zardari has asked relevant ministries and authorities for their advice on the matter. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

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.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Aug 12, 2012 - 7:48PM

    President has got no right to do that, this is totally unislamic


  • Awans
    Aug 12, 2012 - 7:57PM

    It will be a shame for Pakistan. Now every gangster will know that he can do any murders and rapes but he will get the life imprisonment the most and we all know for Gangsters jails are like heavens for them . Such a pathetic decision. You are not following any rules of Islam in this Islamic republic but atleast dont wipe the death penalty. Now Rapists, Murderers and drug traffickers will enjoy in this country . I am ashamed of this country right now. More than 7500 people are waiting for death sentence and they are all murderes and rapists and by changing their death sentences you are like encouraging them and nothing else.Recommend

  • mohsin
    Aug 12, 2012 - 8:00PM

    this government gonna worsen the already bad law and order situation in the country.


    Aug 12, 2012 - 9:34PM

    A very bold step indeed! Hats off to Unsar Burni sahab and President Zardari.

    Allah love forgiveness over punishment! as per my limited knowledge!

    for people around! you guys are sick! and would never appreciate any step of Zardari!


  • Logic Europe
    Aug 12, 2012 - 10:44PM

    s large number, accumulated over years not just during ZARDARI time
    none of them has been punished under Islamic law,So a genral amnesty can be justified


  • s shah
    Aug 12, 2012 - 11:09PM

    I agree with Pres. Zardari. Given that the police use torture to extract confession and that the criminal justice system is Pk. is flawed, to put it mildly, and many charges are laid out of personal enmity or for land grabbing etc, how can one be sure that the people on death row are guilty of the crimes of which they have been accused. The ones that are caught are always the poor, never the ones with influence and money and, it seems, never terrorists who murder people in the thousands. Further, surely there is room for repentence and forgiveness in Islam.


  • ali
    Aug 12, 2012 - 11:13PM

    This will be challenged in SC. It will be easily stuck down since it is against quran and sunnah.


  • Abdul Hanan Sheikh
    Aug 12, 2012 - 11:28PM

    A brave step from Mr. President in pseudo Islamic country. That is need of time to move along with world.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Aug 12, 2012 - 11:30PM

    The President before commuting the death sentence of every person who is on the death row should make a team to investigate as who is an innocent person and who have become victim of the false testimony or circumstances.

    If there are prisoners who are behind the bars for decades and are proved by the investigative team that they are innocent or have become the victims of false testimony, they should be released immediately and without any further delay so that they should spent Eid holidays with their family members.

    Coming back on such prisoners who are found guilt, it is the only right of the legal heirs of the deceased people to forgive them and no one else, even the President of Pakistan has no right to pardon such prisoners or commute the death sentence into life imprisonment.

    In Pakistan the life imprisonment is for 14 years and by counting day and night, the life imprisonment practically reduced to seven years, but this does not happen in other underdeveloped or developed countries.


  • Concerned
    Aug 12, 2012 - 11:34PM

    First improve the speed and efficiency of this country’s judicial system – in this ridiculous ‘Islamic’ republic, you are guilty until proven innocent – you must bribe the judges for your case to be heard or you are condemned to life imprisonment anyway, whether you are innocent or guilty.
    This reign of injustice is the primary cause for this country’s woes – from rampant corruption all the way to wanton acts of violence and rape.


  • Ijaz Mir
    Aug 13, 2012 - 12:31AM

    our country has half baked Islamic laws. First of all Zerdari can not pardon any Person who has killed another human. It is the prerogative of murdered persons relatives to pardon him or her or demond blood money.


  • Hasan
    Aug 13, 2012 - 1:01AM

    Death sentences have been given according to Roman law not Islamic law. Constitutionally and legally President of Pakistan has every right to commute each and very one of those sentences.


  • Raheem Bukhsh
    Aug 13, 2012 - 1:15AM

    Then 90 days relaxation will be given at every eid and after 15 years all murderers will be free. Pakistan is a heaven for criminals under the leadership of a criminal.


  • Razi
    Aug 13, 2012 - 1:17AM

    A sane move in years by PPP. My salute to Ansar Burney. Its about time that some one questions the laws that were made thousands of years ago. Good job!
    I do not expect a religious right wing regime to even think out of the box on this matter.


  • KiJ
    Aug 13, 2012 - 1:33AM

    doing favors to his criminal buddies from jail… the votes must now come from unusual avenues, considering the PPP Gov performance in the last 4.5 years….


  • YA
    Aug 13, 2012 - 3:02AM

    This has aid written all over it, which Pakistan needs since the country cannot run on Gharait. Regardless of the motive its the right thing in my personal opinion, just for information purposes for those who link crime with capital punishment: death penalty has been shown to have no influence on murderers.


  • Sayyed Mehdi
    Aug 13, 2012 - 4:58AM

    Several times in the United States, evidence of innocence has emerged after the accused was executed. Our legal system is far more screwed. I wonder how many people we have executed were really innocents. I feel the death penalty should be completely abolished because evidence of innocence can emerge later.


  • VivaLaRevolution
    Aug 13, 2012 - 5:14AM

    For those who say that death penalty decreases crime rate you are wrong. Google it and read. There always more to learn.


  • Mirza
    Aug 13, 2012 - 10:55AM

    I see lot of blood thirsty people crawling out of their caves. What is wrong with showing a bit of mercy? First of all it takes ages for a case in our judicial system unless it is political. In addition when a person is finally released after 15 long years he is not the same young monster he once was, assuming the judgment was right in the first place. There are so many innocents being put to death and this brutal practice must stop. Among the West only the US is a major power which still practices death penalty and it has not decreased the crime rate in the US which is much higher than neighbor Canada and European countries. One thought Ramazan is a month to show mercy toward humans.


  • Mehmood
    Aug 13, 2012 - 6:00PM

    Hats off to both Zardari and Burney for such a bold step


  • Asif Majeed
    Aug 13, 2012 - 7:12PM

    I’m surprised to see all the negative comments here. We all know what goes on in Pakistan. When was the last time a truelly guilty man was hanged? The crimnals and influential always walk free, the poor and innocent are usually hanged. I commend both Ansar Burni and Asif Ali Zardari on this step.


  • gaffar ahmed
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:35AM

    I will agree with Asif Majeed think about the poor and inocent people who are being hanged.I also commend Asif Ali Zardari on this step. This would be the best month to take this step.


  • Gaffar Ahmed
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:42AM

    I will agree with Asif Majeed we people need to think abot the poor and inocent people who are being hanged.I also recommend Asif Ali Zardari on this step.


  • Abdullah
    Sep 7, 2012 - 10:06PM

    I will appreciate president Asif Ali zardari because I know that capital punishment is an Islamic law but this Islamic law demands many requirements for implementation .most importantly pakista’s law is not Islamic , it is roman law so implementation of capital punishment on any muslim accused under this roman law is very brutal act. Mostly accused are innocent and falsely involved. Our police culture is very dirty. They tortured the accused and threaten him to confess otherwise they involved his other family members . Our judicial system is also not reliable. Because bribery and personal references are big issues. Our judicial system is very slow. A case of death penalty punishment. takes 18 years to be finalised . So accused of death penalty punishment faces two punishments . First is life imprisonment and second is death penalty. So it is not justice. It is brutal society act. Any way I’m seeing so many blood thirsty people at this forum. First they have to learn about Islam . Islam is a religion of forgiveness .i know qasas is a right of victim hires but for qasas we need Islamic courts and islamic law. When an accused detained in judicial lockup for long 18 years then his hired spend this 18 long years in very ciritical situation . Between the jail and courts they gone mad. If someone says that it is an Islamic law I’m agree but Islamic law required Islamic rules for implementation. Islam does not required 18 years long jail period. Islam does not requires expensive lawyers from session court to supreme court. Islam does not requires police torture. Islamic punishment must be implement under Islamic law, Islamic courts and pure Islamic country. Under roman law Islamic punishment ‘s implementation is a very shamed act of society.Recommend

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